Meet Agi, beer brewer for female led beverage company, Sparkke Change. These ladies launched their social message branded label in late 2016, with Agi driving the beer side of the company. Recently, Sparkke have announced that they are building a taproom and brewery in the Adelaide City; more specifically Whitmore Square. There is a hive of activity at the old Whitmore Hotel, with walls coming down and brewing equipment moving in. The venue is penciled in for a late 2018 launch, with Agi promising some more limited release gear to follow.
Q1. Who are you and how are you involved in the SA beer industry?
My name is Agi Gajic and I’m the brewer for The Sparkke Change Beverage Company, Adelaide.
Sparkke makes alcoholic beverages with a social conscious. Our all-natural product range is made using premium, local and real ingredients.
We’re an independent, female-led, progressive social enterprise, actively challenging stereotypes that exist in Australia’s multi-billion dollar per annum beer industry – an industry that (largely) lacks diversity and inclusivity.
Q2. What are some of the great moments you have had whilst being involved in this industry?
It’s difficult to isolate great moments, it’s more of a general feeling for me. That feeling when you pull off a beer style that you’ve never done before. Or that feeling when you problem solve your way our of a some sort of plant issue. Or meeting a brewer you look up to for the first time and having a nerd out.
I like it all 😊
Q3. How have you seen the industry grow and what do you think are some trends for the future?
Hell yeah. The number of breweries in Australia now compared when I first started out in 2012 is wild! It’s really great to see some folks using more traditional methods now too, especially in the sour game. So I’m hoping that this kinda things is a trend that keeps growing.
Q4. Beer contains a ton of calories, what do you do to keep the beer gut at bay?
Oh gee. Ah I guess it’s lucky that brewing is a super physical job. Try to walk my doggo around a bit too.
Q5. What was your epiphany beer that set you on your crafty way?
I did a double degree in Philosophy and Sustainable Development, during which, I spent 3 and a half years working in a pub that had 6 rotating craft beer taps. I got to try a whole bunch of weird and wonderful beers from all around the world, and over time, I became fascinated and then quickly obsessed with all things craft beer.
Towards the end of my study, I became the sustainability editor of our university magazine. For one issue, I chose to do an article about beer and sustainability and came to realise how much of a materials, energy and water intensive industry brewing is, and how breweries used innovative technologies and practices to minimise their environmental impact. After writing this article, I had a typically cliché ‘light bulb moment’…
Ultimately, I decided to become a commercial brewer for a number of reasons: a love of beer, a desire to work physically, a creative outlet, a love of science, an opportunity to utilise my knowledge of ecologically sustainable development tangibly and the appeal of a multidisciplinary profession.
I became a super big pest to every brewery I could think of until one of them gave me a shot… (forever grateful for this btw, Gage Roads) and by working my ass off.
Q6. Do you have any exciting news you can share with me? Maybe about future plans, collaborations or anything new?
I’m currently in the process of designing Sparkke’s very first brewpub, which is pretty darn exciting! This venue will reflect Sparkke’s twin business mantras – sustainability and social responsibility, and will also house an 800L brewery.
I’ll be churning out speciality beers on the regular, filling kegs, rolling them into the cellar and tapping them so you can drink them fresh at the bar. Perfect.
Q7. We are all friends here in South Australia, so who would you like to collaborate with next and what would you make?
Still dying to make a beer with Jade at The Wheaty. Also my pals over at Little Bang and Big Shed. Pretty keen to do a collab with a winery or distillery too.
Q8. Some brewers stick religiously to the style guide lines when brewing a beer, others throw that book out the window. If you were create your own style, what would it be like?
Haha. Wellll In a way I feel like I semi-“created” a style in our New England Pale Ale…
This is a tough question that I’m not super sure how to answer but I can say that I’m all for innovation and style creation. I love making modern tweaks on classic style guidelines.
Q9. What is your favourite season for beer drinking? Why?
It’s gotta be winter. Stouts and darks are my fav. Plus I like winter as a season better anyways.
Q10. If you could choose any profession, what would it be? Why?
Haha other than brewing? Ummm, probably mechanics of some sort, engineering, or upholstery.
Every set of answers that I have received back this year has mentioned Big Shed as their go to collab partners; Little Bang has featured quite a bit too and Jade really is the maestro of collaborations. Agi did tell me once, all the different varieties of hops she added into the New England Pale Ale but as there are so many, I may have forgotten. Thanks for your responses Agi and I wish you luck for the pending brewery build. Coming up in the future, we still have Pete from Mephisto and Stu from SK Beverages.