Dan Wright, owner of Swell Brewing Co, has been around the South Australian craft beer scene since 2011. Born from his love of surfing followed by a couple of beers, Swell brings the surfing culture to the beer scene. Originally starting out as a gypsy brewer, Dan now has his very own brewery and tap house in production, ready for opening late 2018/early 2019. His new venue, located in McLaren Vale, will host 16 taps and a kitchen serving up beer food.
Q1. Who are you and how are you involved in the SA beer industry?
I’m Dan Wright , Founder, CEO, Brewer , All Things @ Swell Brewing Co.
Q2. What are some of the great moments you have had whilst being involved in this industry?
Winning the trophy for the Best Australian Style Pale Ale @ the AIBA 2016 for our Golden Ale. Also, winning a couple of Gold medals for our Pale Ale at the IBA awards.
Q3. How have you seen the industry grow and what do you think are some trends for the future?
Wow, I’ve seen it grow from a couple of craft beers (in bottles) in a fridge at a few independent bottlo’s, to 2 full fridges of craft cans in a lot of independent bottlo’s. I’ve seen a couple of small companies grow over 15 yrs to selling out as well as, a well know company grow fast over 2 yrs to sell out. Not to mention the move from slightly hopped beers thru to seriously hopped ones and everything in between. There is so much competition out there for fridge and tap space I see the trend for the future being base more on brew pubs, tap houses and the retail space, where owner operators can get better margin for their product whilst providing an experience for its customers.
Q4. Beer contains a ton of calories, what do you do to keep the beer gut at bay?
Crossfit and surfing. I go to the box 3-5 days a week to keep fit to surf and the last thing I feel like after a workout is a beer. But, after a good surf there’s nothing like a couple of frothies with the boys….
Q5. What was your epiphany beer that set you on your crafty way?
I don’t really remember the actual beer but it was in a brew pub in Healdsburg California back in 1998. I just thought, we should have one of these in our wine region back home.
Q6. Do you have any exciting news you can share with me? Maybe about future plans, collaborations or anything new?
YES, We are currently 70% of our way through to completion of our very own tap house in our wine region…something I have dreamt of doing for 20 yrs! I know you don’t want to rush things but we’re pretty excited about what the future holds. An actual home for our brand, a brew house, fermenters, new beers, food, events it’s all very exciting!!
Q7. We are all friends here in South Australia, so who would you like to collaborate with next and what would you make?
That’s a hard question…I couldn’t single out one…I enjoy my chats will all the brewers/owners I come in contact with here in SA, so the list would be long. We’ll just see what happens. Tho, a colab with BALTER would be pretty cool for obvious reasons!
Q8. Some brewers stick religiously to the style guide lines when brewing a beer, others throw that book out the window. If you were to create your own style, what would it be like?
Flavour: Intense Tropical and Stone fruit, 45-50 IBU
Overall Impression: Hopefully it tastes as good as I imagine, Watch this space….
Q9. What is your favourite season for beer drinking? Why?
Autumn, generally this is when the rush of Vintage and beer production has slowed and I’m on holiday surfing somewhere.
Q10. If you could choose any profession, what would it be? Why?
Professional Surfer, because I could make a living out of one of my favourite pastimes, travel the world and then invest in a brewery….Best of both worlds!
I remember being at the 2016 AIBA Beer Awards when Swell’s name was called out for best pale ale; a very exciting time for Dan. Swell’s new venue looks awesome and it will be a great beery addition to the McLaren Vale area; soon it will be possible to do a tour of the region drinking just beer. Thanks for your answers Dan, I can’t wait to have a Swell beer at your venue soon.