07 November 2015
by Cara waters
Two Birds wins best beer at Wetherspoon's Real Ale festival
Danielle Allen, left and Jayne Lewis from Two Birds Brewing.
Spotswood craft brewery Two Birds Brewing has been awarded best beer at the Wetherspoons Real Ale festival in Britain this week.
Two Birds Brewing's Sunset Ale was selected by the judges ahead of more than 50 other beers from entrants from around the world including The Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, America and Guam.
It was the one the judges said they would have gone back for another one of and they liked the distinctive characters of it as well.
Jayne Lewis and Danielle Allen are the two birds behind Two Birds Brewing, Australia's first female-owned brewery.
Jayne Lewis, co-owner of Two Birds Brewing.
To take part in the competition the pair flew to London to brew a batch of their beer there with a local brewer.
The Sunset Ale has already taken out a swag of awards in Australia. The red ale has what Lewis describes as a "toffee and biscuit" flavour with the hops used giving it "a tropical and citrus note".
"Our beer was rated the best beer was because it was the one the judges said they would have gone back for another one of and they liked the distinctive characters of it as well," says Lewis.
But she hesitates to call the sunset ale the "best beer in the world" saying instead it is the "best beer of those at the festival".
Lewis and Allen have been friends for 15 years and started Two Birds Brewing four years ago after a trip to the United States, where they explored the craft breweries.
"We decided we were keen to do our own thing and to team up," Lewis says.
The pair had to take out personal loans and mortgage the business against their homes to start off.
They began contract brewing, where the Two Birds beers were made to their recipe but in someone else's brewery, and in June last year they opened their own brewery in Spotswood.
Lewis describes opening their own brewery as a "turning point" in the growth of Two Birds business, which now turns over "between $3 million to $5 million" a year.
Two Birds doubled its capacity this year and now brews 500,000 litres of beer a year.
Lewis says the beer is available across Australia in Dan Murphy's, Liquor Land and Vintage Cellars and "hopefully in your local pub, that's what we are aiming for".
As a craft brewery Lewis says it is difficult to get Two Birds Beer on tap and in the fridges at pubs which are dominated by the big two brewers, Lion Nathan and CUB.
"There are a lot of contracted taps out there but there are also a lot of people who are embracing craft beer out there as a point of difference," Lewis says.
"It's not an easy game."
But Lewis says being two women in a male-dominated industry has not held Two Birds back.
"We have no end of support," she says. "It's a wonderful, warm and inviting and welcoming industry."
According to Lewis the growing interest in craft beer means it is an "incredibly exciting time" to be in business.
She says the craft beer movement has the potential to be like boutique wine and artisan food but has been "languishing" until now.
"There's so much that craft beer has to offer," she says.