Purrumbete Brewing Company (Red Duck)

Scott and Vanessa Wilson-Browne are another couple of ‘ale changers’ who swapped busy Melbourne careers to move to the country, bring up their young family, and brew and market craft ales. Along the way, they also helped restore the historic Purrumbete Homestead (which was bought by Vanessa’s parents after they retired from dairy farming) into upmarket bed-and-breakfast accommodation. The Wilson-Brownes live in a house on the property and set up the 5-hectolitre microbrewery (mainly second-hand tanks from New Zealand) in the former dairy. The core range of ales includes an amber ale, pale ale and porter, and came on-line in late 2005. ‘I don’t really like lagers,’ Scott Wilson-Browne once told me. In fact, he appears to have a penchant for strong ales in particular and recent speciality brews have included Golden Dragon Celtic Ale, The Ox, Queen Bee Honey Porter (6.6% abv) and 4 Ducks (10.5% abv Belgian ale). However, he has softened his hard line on lagers, somewhat, with the release of Red Duck Bock (9.4% abv). In the early days, local markets and festivals were the main focus for Red Duck beers but the core brands are currently available in various retail outlets. Apart from brewing his own beers, Scott produces the ‘wash’ for nearby Timboon Railway Shed Distillery’s whisky, run by his close friends Tim Marwood and Caroline Simmons. A graphic designer by profession, Scott still earns a freelance income, mainly from designing labels for wineries and other craft breweries. In December 2009, the Wilson-Brownes established Red Duck Providore in Camperdown as a combined cafe and shopfront for their beers, which is open seven days. As we went to press there were plans to relocate the brewery from Purrumbete to Ballarat later in 2011.

House Style

Purrumbete’s beers are mostly flavoursome, bottle-conditioned ales, with a ‘reserve’ range of more potent occasional brews, featuring the odd blockbuster.

Signature Beer

Red Duck Amber Ale

Behind the Label

Naturally enough, graphic-designer turned-craft-brewer Scott Wilson-Browne creates all his own labels and graphics. The Red Duck brand/logo in question is named after the waddling inhabitants of nearby Lake Purrumbete – properly known as Shelducks which, apparently, showed great interest in the brewery’s construction phase (or was it just the sacks of grain lying around?). Scott has plenty of fun with ‘Can you find a Red Duck?’ on his well-designed (as you’d expect) website where the graphics suggest the sort of silhouetted duck you might point a slug-gun at in a sideshow alley.

Contact Information

Red Duck Providore, 243 Manifold St, Camperdown 3260

Tastings; cafe; takeaway sales


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