The Little Brewing Company
Australia’s new breed of brewer can arrive at the craft by sometimes circuitous routes. For Warwick Little, that included 20 years as an ambulance officer, home brewing, a wine science course and a pair of decidedly dodgy knees. After a dozen knee operations he and wife Kylie decided his employment prospects were bleak, so they started their own microbrewery. Based at Port Macquarie, the Little Brewing Company isn’t as small-scale as it sounds, with a 30-hectolitre double-batch being knocked out on roughly a weekly basis. The 13-hectolitre brewhouse was built in Western Australia and the first beer flowed in May 2007. Since starting their venture, they have been joined by an assistant brewer, Jason Clifton. They operate from an industrial estate unit and have a wholesale producer’s licence, which enables them to sell beer directly from the cellar door; something that had been problematic and/or expensive under New South Wales licensing laws, until recently. Their quirkily named Wicked Elf beers were quick to announce their presence to the craft-beer market, especially after Wicked Elf Pale Ale won gold at the 2008 Royal Agricultural Society of New South Wales (RAS) Beer Competition. It was, in fact, the very first competition that the Littles had entered their beers in. ‘Alpha Pale Ale has always been my favourite Australian beer,’ says Warwick Little, referring to the Matilda Bay brew of similar style that they nearly outpointed in the Sydney-based competition. Kylie Little has a background in public relations and marketing, and she has applied those skills to their own business (as well as doing bottling, labelling and various other tasks around the brewery). The Little Brewing Company was named the 2008 Greater Port Macquarie Business of the Year, after it had been operating for little more than twelve months.
Uncompromising and full-flavoured beers that are true to style, with a ‘reserve’ range of more extreme styles being released as we went to press.
Wicked Elf Pale Ale
Behind the Label
Wicked Elf could be the sort of naughty little helper a bad Santa might employ but, according to Kylie Little, ‘ELF’ is an acronym for her surname and that of two prospective partners who were going to set up a marketing business some years ago. While that venture never materialised, they applied the name to their craft-beer range. ‘I like the association with European folklore,’ Warwick Little says, ‘because we were always going to make European-style beers. And we liked ‘wicked’ because it can mean either ‘good’ or ‘bad’. It’s catchy, if nothing else, and the Port Macquarie locals have already nicknamed their beers ‘pixie juice’.
Unit 1/58 Uralla Road, Port Macquarie 2444 Tours by appointment; takeaway sales