WORDS BY Hollie Noonan
There are those in our business community who pursue uncharted action for the protection of our planet. They take a stand to prioritise what is right, over what is easy. The word ‘hero’ may sound a little childish, but should we in fact consider the current wave of eco-entrepreneurs who are determined to create sustainable businesses – our local heroes?
Terella Brewing, just a hop over the highway into neighbouring North Arm, opened its large shed doors to the public last November and have since pushed serious boundaries in sustainable industry operations. It’s been far from a smooth journey, but this trio of founders are determined to create a destination Brewery that sets new standards in environmental practices, while creating quality beers, inspired by the traditional brewing methods of the German masters.
Terella – meaning little earth in Latin, is a perfectly fitting name for a brewery inspired by circular systems. The processes put in place on the land that Terella shares with fellow business operation ‘Vertical Farm Systems’, are really worth celebrating with a cold one fresh from their 15 strong tap system.
“We would love to be the most eco-friendly brewery on the planet,” states Brandt Bamford, co-founder and head brewer. Brandt with co-founders Torren Read and Ash Thompson began the project with clear objectives – to make exceptionally good beer and to implement systems that aim for a zero-waste operation.
As Torren explained, breweries are typically highly water-intensive operations that also release CO2, created during their fermentation process. The trio of passionate problem solvers, tackled this environmental issue and created an evolution of cleverly engineered circular systems, now operating on the lovely 69 acres of Bunya road country, for all to enjoy.
The integrations truly demonstrate the power of collaboration between businesses. Vertical Farm Systems next door creates water through condensation within the controlled rooms where their leafy greens grow. Rather than precious water going to waste, it is collected and diverted next door to Terella who use it to brew beer. Terellas’ brewing process creates two main “waste” products – spent grain and CO2. Not willing to allow additional CO2 into the atmosphere all for the sake of a brewsky, the team engineered a process where the CO2 is captured, stored in a tank and then fed back into the plants in Vertical Farm System next door – essentially locking that CO2 back up into the leafy greens!
Naturally, the greens are then sold in the Terella Brewing farm shop. It’s all about the circles.
“There’s no other brewery that we know of, that is using the CO2 and locking it back up into leafy greens. There’s no other brewery brewing beer with water that’s been pulled from the process of growing plants.” – Brandt.
The grain used in the brewing process has its own delicious, circular story. Local sourdough and pastry artisans, 10 Acres, collect the spent grain and bake fresh sourdough loaves that they sell at Terella Brewing farm store each Saturday, as well as at the Eumundi Markets each week! Not only that, local farmers have clued into the high nutritional value of the spent whole grains, so collect it by the barrel load to feed their cattle. Circles.
More exciting developments are brewing to keep the circle of production even closer to home. The team are experimenting with growing their own hop plants using the Vertical Farm Bioponic System. Hops, like bulk grains, are typically sourced from the US and other far reaching parts of the world which is simply not a sustainable approach considering extensive food miles. Brandt is very excited to begin trialling a collaboration with a QLD farmer who will grow ancient grain varieties, malt the grains right there on the farm land and provide more scope for access to organic grains all within 3 hours drive from the brewery! Progress.
These integrations sound simple enough but they have been far from easy. What’s really worth celebrating is the perseverance and determination we see from both Terella Brewing and Vertical Farm Systems to continue to strive for better ways. Currently they are harvesting millions of litres of rainwater from their expansive shed roof to use in beer brewing and are operating 100% off-grid. Torren explains that their systems aren’t perfect but they are always making progress. All we can ask for is progress, particularly in an industry that has gone unchallenged for so long.
Amid the seemingly endless problem solving, when asking Torren his main goal for the business he answers simply, “To make great beer. Without that nothing else will work.”
And great beer they certainly do make! The creativity of the brew flavour profiles will impress the most progressive palette, including Orange Peel Coriander Wheat, Salted Caramel Stout and Mango XPA. Traditionalists should not be concerned though, the methodology inspired by the traditional German masters ensures purist profiles, such as the Euro Lager, will quench your thirst – and leave you wanting more.
Easily accessible, nestled between the two vibrantly cultural townships of Eumundi and Yandina, Torren feels the location of Terella Brewing has created a greater sense of community, which is felt throughout the operation. “Eumundi is known for being such a nice spot that has an eco vibe to it and that sits really well with us as a sustainable operation.”
All of their employees are locals, the weekend food trucks are local businesses and very soon, a local rescued animal shelter will move onto the property, creating a weekend animal encounter experience for visiting children.
The vibe is low key – family fun with vast green space for kids to be kids. The beer is great and the mission is exceptional. Throw in live local music and the delicious fare of the weekend food trucks and we have a pretty fantastic brew!
Cheers team Terella Brewing! Our newest local Heroes.