Casey’s Beer: a personal story
Cadel Evans says when he was 14 he discovered his calling in life: to ride bicycles. For me it was completely different. I had no idea what I wanted to do – except for a few months when I was 15 and thought I would like to become an architect.
So after a checkered work history – cleaner, bank clerk, psychiatric nurse, station cook and roustabout, cab driver, coach driver, short-order cook, I was well into my forties when I discovered my calling in life. It was not just to make beer, but to make beer for other people.
Having driven cabs for too long to be able to work for someone else, I decided the only thing to do was to start a brewery. Of course this was way too big a bite to take first up. So in March 2003, as a step towards establishing a brewery, I opened Blue Mountains Brewing Supplies at Faulconbridge. The idea was to learn more about brewing, the brewing industry and consumer taste. The smaller population in the Blue Mountains meant business was a little tight, so I opened Absolute Homebrew at St Marys in March 2006. I closed Blue Mountains Brewing Supplies in August 2009 to concentrate on Absolute Homebrew and to start the brewery.
In 2010 I hired a consultant to source second hand equipment from the USA. Andrew found a 15 US barrel (1,800 litre) Bohemian steam fired system. Finding premises, getting the correct pieces of paper and the installation took longer than I anticipated, but I got there in the end.
The brewery started production in April 2015 doing contract brews and working with various gypsy brewers around Sydney. A cool room has just been installed which allows me to keep packaged beer, bottles and kegs, on site. This will make it a lot easier to go out and sell the beer. So late in 2016 I am all ready to go.
As both a nurse and a cab driver I tried to look after people. It is satisfying to bring some improvement, no matter how small, to other people’s lives. I want to do the same with the beer I brew, I hope it makes people happy. If I can brew beer half as well as Cadel Evans rides bicycles then I think I will make people happy.
– Pat Casey