19 June 2023

Crafty idea in a Gerringong backyard grows into a family success story

| Kellie O'Brien
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two men laughing

Steve and Andrew Prosser have been able to grow Stoic Brewing from a few brews to 45 craft beers within five years. Photos: Supplied.

Father and son Steve and Andrew Prosser have gone from humble beginnings making a few brews in Steve’s garage, to today delivering 5000 litres a week of beer from the vats in their Gerringong microbrewery.

Stoic Brewing gives patrons the chance to sit among the vats as they drink craft beers, enjoy a meal while watching brews being canned, or listen to live music.

The idea for the business stemmed from a craft beer club that met in Steve’s garage, where a group of friends blind-tasted craft beers.

“Someone would bring along a craft beer. We wouldn’t know what it was and so we’d taste it and speak about it,” Andrew said.

“Then by the end of the night, we all had great ideas of starting breweries. That’s kind of where it grew from.”

Steve invested in a unit in Gerringong five years ago and asked his son Andrew what he wanted to do.

“I said, ‘Oh, let’s start a brewery’ and Dad was crazy enough to say yes,” he said.

“Then I thought, gee whiz, I’d better learn how to brew.”

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Andrew learned to brew beer, using a little 20-litre system every weekend for about 18 months.

“I was pretty committed, so every weekend I rocked up to Dad’s place and started brewing,” he said.

Electricians by trade, the pair were able to do all the electrical work themselves to set up the business.

“As an electrician, you have to have a fault-finding kind of brain, so we were putting our fault-finding and fixing skills to this business a lot,” Andrew said.

The pair upscaled the business quickly, eventually expanding into premises next door last November after reaching capacity in the original base.

“A lot has happened over the last four years in microbrewing,” Andrew said.

“We probably started on the crest of rapid growth in microbrewing. Now there’s microbreweries everywhere.

“That rapid interest and growth helped as well. You definitely have to have a brew pub or a venue set up these days. You can’t just wholesale everything.”


Stoic Brewing brews and cans its own craft beers from its Gerringong premises.

The business is supported by five full-time staff, including a head brewer, and 15 other workers.

“Within the first month, Dad knew that he didn’t like brewing,” Andrew said.

“So I had a mate who put his hand up and said, ‘I’ll come and help you’.

“He worked for beers there for probably three months, then he got a day a week that we were paying him for and now he’s our head brewer. He’s taken over the brewing role and I don’t do any brewing anymore.”

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The brewery now has about 45 styles and flavours of beers and cider, which includes some of the original recipes that came from the pair’s time in the garage.

Hops are sourced from a variety of farms in Australia and overseas to create the flavours.

The rapid growth also meant the need to invest in Stoic Brewing’s own cannery.

“There’s not much space here, so we’ve had to utilise every little bit of space we can,” Andrew said.

“Now we’ve got the two sides – the boys can brew while people are on site, which is cool.

“And you can watch canning. So we’ve set our cannery up so you can see what happens when it’s operating.”

beer vats

Stoic Brewing patrons can sit among the vats as they enjoy a beer, meal and live music.

Earlier this year, Stoic Brewing also brought on a sales representative to expand the wholesale side of the business and invested in a centrifuge, which clarifies the beer without ripping out anything you don’t want it to.

“That’s really changed the game for us here,” Andrew said.

“It gives us the ability to stretch our wholesale, because the product becomes a bit more shop-shelf stable.”

While it’s been a family affair with mum, two sisters and Andrew’s wife also helping out, dad Steve has decided to retire from the business at the end of the financial year.

Andrew said they had been able to remain mates throughout their time working together.

“I think the best way to explain it is after a heated discussion, you have a beer and let go of that heated discussion,” he said, laughing.

“I think that’s how we’re still mates.

“To give him some props, he was very good at going, ‘All right, Andrew’s doing a good job. I’ll keep letting him do a good job’.”

Stoic Brewing also runs Grain to Glass Guided Tours and Tastings, where patrons get to hear the story of the business and sample the product.

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