Anthony Albanese has today opened the expanded Willie the Boatman brewery in St Peters, marking the latest milestone in the growth of craft brewing in Sydney’s Inner West.
The new, larger premises will allow for a 400 per cent increase in production capacity for the business, which is one of 16 that are now operating in the electorate of Grayndler.
Willie the Boatman has also now released for public sale the new commemorative cans of Albo Corn Ale, further expanding the retail availability of what has proven to be a very popular drop.
Anthony Albanese congratulated the owners and staff at Willie the Boatman on the growth of the business and for supporting local employment.
“This expansion is just the latest evidence that the Inner West is the craft beer capital of Australia,” Albanese said.
“Willie the Boatman is a local success story and one that exemplifies the positive economic impact craft brewing is having on the Inner West and the nation.
“I thank all the craft brewers who helped advocate alongside Joel Fitzgibbon and I to deliver a fairer system for craft brewers, which will come into effect on June 30 this year.
“The higher excise rate being charged for smaller kegs of beer has been unfairly hampering the craft beer industry.
“I am glad we have also been able to increase the rebate craft breweries can receive which has given them an extra $70 000 per annum to expand their businesses and employ more people.
Pat McInerney, founder of Willie the Boatman, said he was pleased to be able to celebrate the expansion of the business with the politician one of his beers was named after.
“We launched the Albo Corn Ale three years ago and to this day it is still one of our biggest selling beers and is now available in cans as well as long necks,” McInerney said.
“Not only did we name a beer in honour of our local member, but he has always been there to listen to us and act. The fairer excise Anthony helped win for us is one of the reasons we are able to expand today.”
“Our business is focused on genuinely engaging with our local community, employing local people and attracting visitors to our area.”
The new brewery will allow Willie the Boatman to expand their production capacity from 3 000 to 12 000 litres per week. Six new permanent and casual jobs are being created.
The tasting room has grown from 55 to 150 square meters allowing more Inner West residents to make it their local and more tourists to visit the brewery and sample its products.