The year has already started off well for Sunshine Coast’s 10 Toes Brewery, which recently reached its highest GABS ranking of 18 after several years on the list; Beer & Brewer spoke to Head Brewer Rupert Hall about how he continues to grow and improve the brewery.

Hall began his journey in the industry 25 years ago, when he began home distilling and brewing while studying chemical engineering at university.

Hall originally focused on home distilling, but it was brewing that brought him the most joy.

“Those first few batches blew my mind with the freshness of flavour and the clean bowl profile coming through. I never looked back, and it went from a hobby to an obsession, and now it’s a career,” he said.

As his career has progressed, Hall is focusing on different aspects of the brewing process and is enjoying bringing his engineering knowledge into brewing.

“When I was hands-on in the brewery myself, I had a passion for the ingredients, for new and interesting flavours. Now that I’m a business owner, I love process control and process improvements. I’m a strong believer that beer is five per cent recipe and 95 per cent process. I get to apply my engineering background in process chemical engineering into the brewing industry. That’s where my passion is these days,” he said.

Hall was surprised by the GABS ranking this year but attributes the win to the community’s support for the brewery.

“I’m not a big believer in traditional marketing or making a lot of noise. Within the Sunshine Coast, we’ve been adopted by the community. We’ve got that strong community connection. We’ve never done major advertising for GABS, other than Instagram posts.

“We’re a little bit blown away by the results this year. It’s just amazing to see the support that we’ve been getting, particularly given our distribution is relatively small compared to a lot of the players you see in the top 100,” he said.

In addition, 10 Toes won Best Artistic Beer Label at the Queensland Royal Beer Awards for its Culture Kick Margarita Lime Gose. The label was the work of 10 Toes’ in-house graphic designer Gerard King.

“Gerard is a quirky guy that can just convert what’s in his head onto paper. We’ve tried to position our artwork around urban alley graffiti, an urban alley with the last 10 years of different artists overlaying their little pieces together. You end up with this collage of a history of different art styles and forms. We try to keep all our art a little bit playful and a little bit quirky. We always strive towards not taking life too seriously. Hats off to Gerard, he does a lot of great work,” Hall said.

This ethos of “not taking life too seriously” is what has fostered the community around 10 Toes Brewing.

“One thing that really resonates with us is leaving your title at the door. The 10 Toes name came about from a mixture of surf culture, just keeping life simple. When you paddle out behind the breakers and you’re sitting there on your board, the guy next to you could be anyone. He could be a lawyer or a tradie. You leave your title at the beach,” Hall said. “That’s what we have seen as we go into the brewery. There’s a conversation, it’s a community. The people who are gravitating to and operating our venues, you couldn’t pick their walk of life. There isn’t any one demographic that we’re aiming at.”

This story was first published by Beer & Brewer, click here to subscribe to the weekly newsletter.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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