Tell us about your background and what led you to becoming a producer on the Central Coast
Like most hobby brewers, I started brewing beer at home in the garage. I was so passionate about brewing that I even designed and built my own computerised brewing system. When I saw that Block ’N Tackle was for sale, I took a leap of faith, left my teaching job and bought the business. Being able to turn my hobby into a career is a wonderful gift. I’ve never looked back!
What do you enjoy most about connecting with visitors to your business?
New visitors to our Central Coast brewery seek us out specially because we are a small craft brewery. They are always super keen to learn about the beer, the history of Block ’N Tackle and my journey to become the owner. I’m also interested in hearing their thoughts about our beers and other craft beers they’ve tasted around Australia, so we have a great time swapping knowledge and stories.
Regular visitors come for the great beer and relaxed atmosphere. I enjoy seeing their reaction to new brews.
What makes your products unique?
We do a lot of small batch brewing. We have our core range, but we pride ourselves on experimenting with lots of different styles and flavours. We’ve even made beers with Red Frogs and Skittles. Last year, we averaged one new beer each week. As a small batch brewery, we can afford to experiment and take risks. Interestingly, we’ve never made a beer that was a complete failure because everybody has different tastes when it comes to beer.
Block ’N Tackle’s Kincumber locale on the Central Coast has a rich history of shipbuilding, and we pay homage to that history in the naming of our core range of beers.
What should people expect when they visit your venue?
Twelve taps and a hand pump, to start with! There’s no shortage of choice. We are also making gourmet pizzas on site to add to our menu of locally-sourced grazing platters and bar snacks. People mostly comment on how relaxing it is to have a beer at Block ’N Tackle compared to a traditional pub. It’s an intimate environment where you can have a chat and enjoy a beer without the noise of televisions and gaming machines. The only sound you’ll hear is good music (live music at weekends) and laughter.
Are you able to give us a preview of any innovative projects (e.g., new products, experiences, promotions or collaborations) that you are working on?
Block ’N Tackle has its 8th birthday in April 2023 and have started brewing for that celebration. During April and May, there will be 8 new beers for the 8 years! We’ll be releasing a special birthday 4-pack covering the brewery’s history. Old-timers will recognise some blasts from the past, brews they won’t have seen for a long time. We will also have 4 completely new beers; they are big flavourful beers, part of an IPA series.
What do you think makes the Central Coast such a great place for people to establish a food or beverage business?
The loyalty of locals on the Central Coast cannot be beaten. Covid was a classic example; we couldn’t have survived without the support of the locals. People are willing to try new experiences and give you a go. Locals enjoy good produce and that brings them back time and again. When tourists visit the Central Coast, they seek out new producers and artisans, so there’s also a steady stream of new visitors.
Who would you recommend as other ‘must try’ food / drink producers on the Central Coast?
One of our beers goes into the beer cheese at Little Creek Cheese in Wyong, so we definitely recommend a visit to Little Creek! MaDhouse beef jerky is fantastic; we have it on our menu, and there are other stockists around the Central Coast. We have a good relationship with other local breweries, as we all make good beer and have our little niches. I recommend a visit to other Central Coast breweries to explore just how much talent we have in our region.
What do you think is the best kept secret on the Central Coast?
I love Pearl Beach as it’s so relaxing. It’s small but very self-contained with a café, restaurant, arboretum, bushwalks and a stunning beach. Everything you need for a day trip or a holiday on the Central Coast.
When you’re not making awesome food / drink, what do you love doing in your spare time?
I like to visit other breweries and producers to experience what other people are making, both on the Central Coast and in Sydney. It’s exciting when you discover little hidden gems.