Once upon a time, a brewery pairing with an art gallery to strengthen its brand and audience would be unheard of. But, in the words of Bob Dylan, “the times they are a changin’”.
There’s a long (and undoubtedly fruitful) history of alcohol purveyors jumping into bed with sporting events and brands, however a new partnership between local craft brewery Otherside Brewing Co. and the Art Gallery of Western Australia (AGWA) is emblematic of a new era in Perth – one where beer slips seamlessly into more cultured arenas with ease.
The three-year partnership sees the brewery supply its popular range of craft beers at AGWA events and a range of special activations and limited edition can art, the first of which appeared at AGWA’s iconic annual Art Ball in May.
Otherside Brewing Co. National Sales and Marketing Manager, Steve Finney says it’s an opportunity for both sides of the fence to expand their reach and engage new audiences.
“We provide a great locally owned and made product and AGWA provides us with opportunities to showcase that product and encourage new audiences to experience some really good Western Australian beers,” Steve says. “This partnership is also a great opportunity for Otherside to get involved in a world we are passionate about, connecting with artists and the people and organisations that support them.”
Otherside Brewing Co. is part of WA brewing and hospitality group Triple-1-Three, known for its award-winning brewing arm. However, they are becoming renowned for their presence amongst Perth’s cultural scene, having several other irons in the creative fire including supporting 10 Nights at Port (Fremantle Festival), Revelation Film Festival and WAM (WA Music).
“Otherside was started by a couple of mates who had previously worked in the music industry and their passion for the creative industries has flowed through to the DNA of the business,” says Steve. “We’re a keen supporter of creative industries and we’re a brand born from creativity, remaining closely connected to music, art and pop-culture.”
The pedigree of the team behind the brews include Founding Directors James Legge and David Chitty, who have a long background in running festivals (including West Coast Roots and Blues festival and Southbound) and sought a ‘a festival in a can’ craft beer for their events. That lead to the development of their first beer, Festival Session Ale, by local brewer Rhys Lopez (Ex-Gage Roads and The Monk) and eventually to the birth of Otherside. Triple-1-Three CEO Al Taylor was previously chairman and group managing director of WA advertising agency 303MullenLowe, while Steve himself counts Feral and Gage Roads in his professional history.
The brand’s deep-rooted philosophy of supporting WA’s emerging musical and creative artists and industries also shines from the inside, out. It works to generate artist collaborations, incubator programs and creative grants. The brand’s Tapped by Otherside program is an initiative dedicated to supporting WA’s local creative industries providing a range of grants, networking opportunities and support for young creatives working in music and the arts.
“We also operate two venues, a taphouse at the front of our Myaree Otherside Brewhouse and a new multi-faceted venue in Fremantle called Freo.Social,” says Steve. “Both venues host local performers and act as a canvas for artists with a range of works by local artists featured across the walls of both venues.”
The voluminous entertainment hall of Freo.Social radiates creativity and a sense of community, having played host to local and national talent since opening, while providing space for local bands to rehearse in a real-life venue environment. “We have even had the local high school utilise this space for their musical, theatre and art programs,” Steve adds.
An intrinsic motivation with Otherside appears to be pushing both Perth and its own industry to new heights. “There’s an amazing beer scene here, so many local breweries are kicking goals and it’s an awesome industry to be involved in,” Steve says. “We are all friends, that work together, with the outlook that ‘a rising tide floats all the boats.’
“There’s also an amazing art culture here that probably flies under the radar a little bit compared to the rest of the country,” he says.
But now, the questions on every reader’s lips… for those who haven’t dabbled in Otherside brews yet, which should they begin with?
“Picking just one would be like picking a favourite child!” Steve says. “Our Festive Session Ale and Harvest Red Ale are the most popular, so that’s always a great place to start, but our range includes something for everyone and we are constantly releasing more experimental and seasonal beers for the more adventurous.”
Steve hints, in particular, at a new experimental sours due for release in July/August 2019, which he promises “will cross a few flavour boundaries, being a 4.7% rosewater, hibiscus and white pepper sour”. The new tipple seems like the perfect way to celebrate the Perth sunshine, pristine beaches and beer garden-culture with an Otherside can in hand!