Albury-grown group Armada Hospitality continues expansion of its successful boutique beer pubs, and has launched a competition to bolster its motto of: great beer – whatever the source.
The Beer DeLuxe chain began in Melbourne’s Federation Square in 2012, as the Albury-based group saw opportunity for a ‘deluxe’ beer menu model championing the best in modern beers from around the country and the world.
The structure has seen Armada open a second outlet in Hawthorn, as well as one in the thriving NSW city of Wagga Wagga and hometown Albury. Last December, Beer DeLuxe opened its latest, and first instalment in Sydney, on King St Wharf at Darling Harbour.
“We’re really excited to be in Sydney,” Armada director Craig Shearer told PubTIC.
“It’s been on our radar for a long time. We’re thrilled, and actively seeking more sites right now.”
Sporting over 150 beers at the venues on draught or in package, the Beer DeLuxe marketing champions excellent beer as top priority – whether it come from established or boutique breweries “or someone’s backyard”.
This has given rise to the group’s inaugural ‘Home Brew Heroes’ competition, where enthusiasts can submit their own creation for expert judging and ultimately brewing glory in the form of a collaboration with a great brewer and taps at Beer DeLuxe.
Qualifying rounds will take place across the venues, judged by an expert panel incorporating head brewers from distinguished suppliers and key industry contacts. These will produce finalists in the three categories of Pale Ale, IPA and Specialty.
The Grand Final will take place at Beer DeLuxe Fed Square during Melbourne’s Good Beer Week in May, with a winner chosen for each category, a ‘People’s Choice’ award, and the overall ‘Best Beer’ awarded an all-expenses paid trip to a Beer DeLuxe partner brewery to collaboratively brew their recipe. This beer will then be available on tap at Beer DeLuxe venues.
Shearer praised the support – and product – they have received from the likes of the Victoria’s Bridge Road Brewers, Sydney’s 4 Pines, and Byron Bay’s Stone & Wood. And following the opportunity north, says the next instalment of Beer DeLuxe will be in Brisbane, at a site on Eagle Street Pier.
“We have the applications in and hope to see approvals in the next couple of months, with the aim of opening around September or October.
“The second new venue we have in mind right now is actually a third for Melbourne.”
Offering a sophisticated yet relaxed approach, suiting corporate lunch and after-work clientele, the model could see strong success in Sydney. Shearer remained coy as to where they may appear next in the NSW capital.
“Manly … Bondi … could be over there somewhere, in the next year or so.”