Beloved Western Australian craft beer venue and 2018 Beer & Brewer Top Australian Beer Venue, Dutch Trading Co, is closing its doors in August after nine years serving as a hub for craft beer in the state.

Co-owner Joel Beresford said that he felt that Dutch Trading Co. had run its course and wanted to move onto a new project.

“Dutch Trading Co. could have kept going indefinitely, but we felt that we had succeeded with our craft beer agenda. With an impending lease agreement coming up, we had to decide if we would keep to the course or try something new. We chose the latter.

“Noticing a change in the air surrounding the craft beer industry also confirmed that this could be the best time to make this change,” he said.

The Dutch Trading Co. first opened its doors in 2015, and Beresford already had strong connections to the craft beer scene after more than a decade in retail.

“I went from craft beer retail to running a craft beer bar. I naively thought that both were ‘same same’, but I was pretty wrong. Adjusting to the on-premise life was gruelling, but I am super proud that I embraced it,” he said.

Past highlights

The Dutch Trading Co. has hosted a number of prominent events over the years, many of which were an annual affair. The inaugural Wild ‘n’ Sour event was an early highlight for Beresford, which was part of Brasserie Carillon’s international Zwanze Day celebrations. When it came to themed events, Beresford and the team went all-out, dressing up, decorating the venue, and creating an infectious energy.

“Our first Tropical Darkness was a crazy concept. The venue was transformed into an insane jungle. We put fake grass throughout the venue, as well as bringing all kinds of vines and fronds from all our gardens. We then dressed in Hawaiian costumes, drank from coconuts and had a glorious time.

“This was also executed during the winter solstice and all of our taps were Stouts, Barleywine and other dark variants. Punters totally embraced the vibe. This event ended up evolving into SludgeFest, another annual event that lasted the ages,” he said.

In particular, Beresford values the connections he has made with other people in the industry, such as hosting a live feed tasting with Karel Boon of Boon Lambic.

“Karel was blown away by the enthusiasm of the participants. He was also suitably impressed by our tasting lineup. Some beers he admitted were not even available at the brewery in Belgium,” he said.

The relationship between Dutch Trading Co. and New Zealand brewery Garage Project was also important for Beresford, especially the annual Day of the Dead celebration.

“We would go whole hog with dressing up and changing the venue to a proper Día de Muertos bonanza. It was especially special that Adam Holliday, the Australian Brand Ambassador for Garage Project, would come over and celebrate with us,” he said.

For Beresford, such events represent his favourite part of the craft beer industry and were key to the venue’s popularity.

“All of these events showcased the unpretentious camaraderie and wholehearted celebration of beer in all its form and glory at the venue caused everyone who was involved to love the venue. We served, educated, enjoyed and shared craft beer for the sheer enjoyment of it, and it showed,” he said.

A last farewell

In true Dutch Trading Co. fashion, the final month of operation will be marked with a multi-week roster of events. Having just celebrated the Fourth of July, Beresford is now preparing for the final SludgeFest.

“SludgeFest will have some of the craziest beers we’ve ever poured. The cellar is no longer off limits. We will then be in party mode for the last two weeks of operation. We will be sharing as much of the good stuff as we can with all our friends that we have made over the years,” he said.

Though Beresford is tight-lipped about his next project, he is preparing to open a new venue in November.

“New challenges await, and a renewal gives us an opportunity to grow and learn new skills as individuals as well as a business.

“Watch this space.”

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