Rocky Ridge Brewing Co | Celebrating Australian Food and Agribusiness Innovations 2020
Hamish Coates comes from a long line of farmers. His family has been running a mix of dairy and beef cattle in WA’s Busselton for five generations. Around four years ago he started to think about the future uses of land and how other agricultural offerings could be incorporated to develop a more sustainable environment.
Hamish had been working in a brewery, so thought that might be an interesting path to follow. When he started to investigate growing the barley and hops required in the brewing process, he was told that hops would never grow in the region. Not one to be told “that won’t work”, he made it his mission to prove the naysayers wrong.
A few years of trials produced great yields and good plants, which was all the encouragement Hamish needed and Rocky Ridge Brewing was born. The focus increasingly became on sustainability, with an emphasis on reduce, reuse, recycle.
With the aim of self-sufficiency, the brewery is powered entirely by a massive off-grid solar system. Water conservation is a priority, with
systems continually being developed and refined to minimise use, particularly as the state’s southwest remains in the midst of sustained drought. Where possible, wastewater is reused within the brewery itself and plastic has been completely removed from the entire operation. By-products like spent grain get fed back to the animals, bridging the dairy and brewing operations.
Hamish took part in a series of full-day workshops with Agristart, which gave him the opportunity to be introspective and think about future plans, a task made difficult when buried in the day-today running. It gave him the distance needed to analyse business strengths and weaknesses and to seek expert advice.
He not only proved the impossible could be done, he spearheaded a new local industry, with around seven growers of reasonable scale popping up in the area. The Rocky Ridge core ideal is to be a positive change in the community.