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Brewery Morisset Blog
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Local head brewer
Meet our head brewer at Lake Mac Brewing, where passion for craft beer and local community in Morisset come together in every brew..

Discover Lake Mac Brewing Co. - The Ultimate Destination for Beer Lovers

Luke Willis planned to open Lake Mac Brewing Co. in Morisset earlier this year, but 2020 had different ideas. Setting up a brewery from scratch is no easy task, and a global pandemic, broken generator, and approval delays made it even more challenging. Willis, who worked in telecommunications before launching Lake Mac Brewing Co., faced all these obstacles this year.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, though. After initially aiming to start operating in the first quarter, Willis finally opened the doors of his brewery on Friday. “It has been disaster after disaster. It has certainly been the year for it,” Willis tells Weekender with a laugh. “Starting up a brewery has been a massive learning curve, that’s for sure.”

The facility is a large-scale operation with an impressive set-up. The three-vessel brewhouse has seven fermenters and a canning line that will allow Lake Mac Brewing Co. to package its own brews. “I wanted to have a brewhouse this big. It’s maybe too big,” Willis laughs. “A lot of people start out with 500-litre fermenters, but I’ve got 1000-litre fermenters. The way I looked at it was I don’t want to get three 500s and then go, ‘Damn, I’m running out of beer. I can’t make it quick enough’.”

And it’s not just a brewery; it’s a pub too. There are four beers on tap: two pale ales, a porter, and a session IPA. These can be enjoyed in the venue’s spacious bar area, which has a view through to the brewery set-up. Willis plans to offer everything from saisons to sours. “The session IPA is a bit milder than your typical IPA because I wanted to offer something easy-drinking to begin with,” Willis explains. “I don’t want to hit people front on in the face and say, ‘Here’s a craft IPA, deal with it’.”

The bar will have a capacity of 100 patrons once COVID-19 restrictions end, but it is currently limited to 26. Growlers and squealers are available for takeaways, and Willis, who does all the brewing himself, plans to add four more taps to the bar as the business grows.

Willis’s venture into brewing began at home 15 years ago. “Like everyone, I started out as a home brewer. When I was brewing at home, I’d share with my friends and family, and got a lot of good feedback,” Willis says. “Outside of brewing, I have worked as a manager of various types of businesses, so I thought, ‘I’ve got the business knowledge and I’ve got the beer brewing knowledge. Why not put them both together?'”

The brewery seed was planted about 18 months ago when Willis recognized a gap in the market following the closure of Morisset Golf Club. There were few places left to get a drink, let alone a craft beer. “I live in Morisset and I knew there was a shortfall in anything local. There was only the golf club operating at the time and the Lake Macquarie Hotel, which is the main pub in town,” Willis says. “There wasn’t too much for young people to do and nowhere to get a craft beer. The closest breweries are Malt ‘n’ Hops [in Beresfield], FogHorn [in Newcastle], or Bay Road in Gosford, but we aren’t actually close to any of them, so I thought it was an ideal spot because we are kind of in the middle.”

The venue is located in an industrial area close to the freeway, so Willis hopes the brewery will become a destination for craft beer lovers as well as those on their way to visit the Hunter’s vineyards. Alongside beer, the bar will offer a range of wines and spirits (including from local producers Newcastle Distilling Co.), while food will be available from a rotating list of on-site food trucks, kicking off with Risky Briskets Texas Barbecue.

And there is plenty of beer for opening week. “I’ve got 60 kegs ready to go. Four different types, 15 kegs of each, so you’re looking at 200-odd schooners per keg. I’ve got a fair amount of beer,” Willis says. “You don’t want to run out of beer when you first open. That’s one thing you don’t want to do!”

Lake Mac Brewing Co., Unit 3/2 Brodie Street, Morisset, is open every day from 11 am until late. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, bookings are essential and available in two-hour slots on 0435 056 220.

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