Pirate Life Update Oct 4 2017

A month in Pirate Life terms packs a fair bit in. Since the last blog we have made our way through Asia, Australia and Europe for a bunch of events, while our brewery stepped its production capacity up a few notches here at home. Here is a bit of a round-up of what’s been going on and what’s coming up…

A few Sundays ago we held our launch party for the Pirate Life x Ballast Point Strong Pale Ale at Sunny’s Pizza in the heart of Adelaide. Pizza courtesy of Sunnys and beer can chicken cooked by Central Market favourites Comida matched the fresh easy drinking Strong Pale Ale which at 6% caught a few punters off guard on a Sunday afternoon. Its always a pleasure working with epic local business and the crew behind Sunny’s and Comida have never let us down.

We have been busy over in Asia. A bit of a marketing trip found us in Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Along the way we joined in on a couple of epic tap takeovers, the Hong Kong launch of our Ballast Point Collab, a beer festival and even managed to catch a race day at the Singapore F1. Big thanks to The Mad Tapper, Amber Rebellion, Ballast Point and The Roundhouse for the hospitality – looking forward to seeing you all again soon.

We also managed to make a quick visit to Drinktec over in Munich. Dubbed the 'World's Leading Trade Fair for the Beverage and Liquid Food Industry' it happens once every 4 years in the lead up to Oktoberfest, which kicks off the day after. Anyone who has been a part of Oktoberfest knows that you essentially eat your own weight in pork knuckle and drink about 100 L of beer. Its not a bad way to spend a weekend if you can manage it.

This weekend we have a couple of events organised both here in Adelaide and over in Perth. Tomorrow night the crew at Baby Mammoth are holding a beergustation with four courses matched with our beers. Our new head brewer Tom aka Prez is making the trip over to host a night honouring “Life, liberty and the pursuit of hoppiness”.

Then on Friday we are teaming up with Tim and Kyle of My Kitchen Rule fame for another beergustation at the The Haus in Hahndorf. The night promises to deliver five courses by Tim, Kyle and The Haus Executive Chef - Naman Tyagi, matched with 5 Beers from Pirate Life Brewing. If the menu is anything to go by it should be a cracking night!


PLB Crew


Pirate Life x Ballast Point - Strong Pale Ale

The roots of Pirate Life’s brewing style can be traced back to the US. West Coast Pale Ales are the foundation that the craft beer revolution was built on. The new hop cultivars that sprung up in the pacific Northwest during the 80s and 90s gave brewers the chance to fully realise the incredible array of flavours that hops could deliver.

The craft beer industry evolved slowly but began to snowball as more and more people discovered these new hop forward beers. What were once small brew pubs expanded into fully fledged production facilities. Craft beer was no longer a hobby, it became a billion-dollar industry. Among these trail blazing breweries was Ballast Point. Once a small brewery at the back of a home brew store in San Diego it now consists of several sites, including a huge 100 thousand square foot brewery. Their amazing hopped up, fruity brews are available the world over.

Last year at the Beertopia Beer Festival in Hong Kong we ran into Chris Roberts, who handles Ballast Points worldwide sales. He liked our IIPA so much he stuck around drinking it all afternoon. An idea was tossed around, Pirate Life and Ballast Point should brew a beer together...

So earlier this year when we were in the USA for the 2017 Craft Beer Conference we hitched a plane to the West Coast and caught up with Ballast Points Specialty Brewer, Colby Chandler. A day of touring Ballast Points massive brewery and drinking a bunch of epic beers at their Little Italy taproom and the deal was done. The Trans Pacific Partnership was born.

The Transpacific Partnership is a 6.0% Strong Pale Ale. A simple malt bill of Vienna and Pale gives the beer a crisp, light malt character with a touch of honey like sweetness. In the true spirit of a transpacific campaign we loaded the brew with six hops from across the Pacific. From America: Amarillo, Simcoe and Mosaic. From New Zealand: Kohatu and Pacifica. With a little Aussie Cascade thrown in for good measure. Along with these hops the whirlpool was loaded up with Finger Lime and Coriander. The result is a beer which hits every tastebud in equal measure. Pleasantly bitter and massively fruity with just the right amount of malt and booze to even it all out.

A beer this eclectic needs a can to match. Back in February, tattooist turned street artist Steen Jones dropped by the brewery and painted an amazing pirate ship on the northern wall of our offices. The can design is a homage to this epic mural. Featuring the ship, the high seas and a bit of Steen's trademark artwork: Hibiscus flowers and his signature skull. Being able to work with an artist as talented as Steen is a huge thrill and we couldn't be happier at the way the cans have captured the spirit of the Transpacific Partnership!

Due to contractual obligations between Ballast Point and Woolworths, the Transpacific Partnership will be available exclusively for retail sale through Dan Murphy’s. However it will also be available on tap and in cans at bars and restaurants across the country.

A brewing alliance for the ages – The Pirate Life x Ballast Point Transpacific Partnership.


PLB Crew


Welcome to the Crew - John Phinney

When Pirate Life first swung open its doors two and a half years ago we never could have imagined the ride that we were about to embark on. The journey has taken us across this beautiful country we call home and beyond our shores as we launched our beers in Australia, NZ, the UK, and a few parts of South East Asia.

As our brewery grew, to keep up, so did our crew. We now have a staff of 40 people worldwide; most here at 89 South Road helping us brew the good stuff, others are dotted across the country and around the world helping to spread the good word about Pirate Life Brewing. Over two and a half years we have managed to build a team of hardworking, passionate and knowledgeable people in every aspect of our organisation. Their dedication to producing and promoting quality Aussie beer is second to none.

Earlier this year before our current CEO Michael Cameron took off for his fifth overseas trip in as many months, the board met and made a huge decision... To allow MC to focus on international expansion, and to help Jack and Red guide the team in finding more ways to make and distribute excellent beer we needed to find a new CEO. Someone who had experience in fast-growing companies, someone who had a passion for producing high quality products and most importantly someone who loves beer.

After a global search which saw more than 200 highly qualified applicants, Pirate Life is incredibly pleased to announce the appointment of John Phinney as CEO. Mr Phinney has a considerable track record of building branded food and drink businesses across the globe and most importantly his favourite Australian beer is our very own IIPA.

Most recently, Mr Phinney was Chief Project Officer at Sundrop Farms, an innovative sustainable food production company, where he looked after building new teams and facilities across the globe. This included time as Managing Director for Australia, delivering a first of its kind greenhouse and sustainable energy facility in right here in SA. During this time, John grew Sundrop's Australian business from five to 150 people and picked up the questionable habit of supporting the Adelaide Crows.

Prior to Sundrop, John built branded beverage businesses in Brazil and helped manage a manufacturing business in the USA. He has studied literature, architecture, strategy and finance, is a grateful husband to his wife Erin and proud father to an American-born son and Australian-born daughter.

John joins the business at an incredibly exciting time and we are stoked to have his input as we embark on the next chapter of the Pirate Life story. We hope you join in welcoming him to the crew and abusing him for his choice of football team.


PLB Crew


Beer Cartel 2017 Australian Craft Beer Survey

Over the past two years our mates over at Beer Cartel have run a survey of Australia’s beer drinkers. The results are somewhat of a state of the nation for the craft beer industry and give an excellent insight into the way that Australian beer drinkers tastes are fast evolving. Yesterday we were caught by surprise with the announcement that Aussies have this year voted us their number one brewery, a huge honour considering the excellent company we share the top five with.

Perhaps the biggest result of the survey is the finding that a massive 95% of people who took part indicated a belief that the quality of craft brewing is improving. This is a huge nod to brewers across the country who have really stepped up the game across the board. The proof is in the drinking. Cheers to everyone who took part in the survey, thanks once again for the love. And big cheers and congratulations to everyone we work with in this awesome industry. We have said it before and we will say it again: Craft beer is full of the best people.


PLB Crew

Standing Room Only

If you walked into our little warehouse here at 89 South Road a couple of years ago, you would have been greeted by a sea of blue floors, a couple of tanks tucked away in the corner and the canning line humming away down the end.

We used to spend a bit of time back in the day bowling the cricket ball around the joint. There was so much space we could cruise the forklift in an out the warehouse when we needed to drop some hops in a tank.

By Friday this week the transformation from that relatively empty warehouse in 2015 to a maxed-out brewery became complete. There is very little that we can write that the attached video doesn’t say. Weeks like these are a testament to what a bunch of legends we have on the ground here in Adelaide. Without missing a beat, they managed to brew, cellar and pack a tonne of beer, all while ripping the roof off our brewery and installing eight new fermenters and one new bright tank.

Thank you to everyone around the world who has helped us make it this far. There is nothing more humbling than the love and support we receive every day from our families, friends and beer drinkers around the globe. It’s been an epic ride so far and we hope there will be plenty more action very soon. But for now, we can focus on the most important bit of all. Filling the new tanks up with the good stuff.


PLB Crew