Sparkke buys Melbourne pub & partners with BWS

December 15, 2019
By Alana House

Sparkke Change Beverage Company is celebrating buying a second pub and a distribution deal with BWS.

The news follows it forming a partnership with national craft beverages accelerator Founders First.

Founders First, which invests in early and mid-stage brewery and distillery businesses, will help Sparkke grow its wholesale business.

This includes taking the female-founded and led social enterprise to a broader national audience through the appointment of Founders First’s Indie Craft Collective national sales team. A partnership with national retailer BWS has just been forged, with Sparkke products now being stocked at select stores within South Australia.

Sparkke’s vision to create a network of brewpubs is also accelerated by the Founders First partnership, as evidenced by their recent purchase of The Vine Hotel on Wellington Street, Collingwood.

The Vine Hotel will look to replicate the success of Sparkke’s critically-acclaimed first brewpub in Adelaide, Sparkke at the Whitmore, which opened on International Women’s Day this year and has since won numerous awards.

Sparkke The Vine Hotel

Hospitality-focused and award-winning Collingwood-based architect Iva Foschia of IF Architecture has been engaged to bring the 19th Century pub to life with early concepts seeing the original brick façade restored after being hidden under paint for decades.

Foschia said: “When designing these early concepts, it was important for us to align the aesthetic and design with Sparkke’s values to ensure the venue feels local and contextual. The new venue will engage at street level with the community while retaining the authenticity of Collingwood.”

The Vine Hotel, once owned and operated by Carlton United Brewery, was first built in 1869 and then demolished at the end of the century and rebuilt as a double storey Edwardian Hotel holding local historical and architectural significance.

Sparkke Co-Founder Rose Kentish said: “Sparkke’s first move will be to undertake extensive community engagement with local Collingwood residents to understand what they would like to see in the majestic old hotel as it begins its journey into the 21st Century. This naturally includes preservation and celebration of the heritage of the building.

“The Vine will serve specialty brews and bring a unique and tailored food offering from an established Melbourne chef. While we are most definitely a pub, food is an equal part of the experience on offer. We’re hoping to replicate the success of Sparkke at the Whitmore led by highly-acclaimed Head Chef Emma McCaskill.

The South Australian pub was recently awarded ‘Best New Restaurant’ in South Australia’s Delicious Hottest 100.

“We expect our new chef to bring their own flair to The Vine’s dining experience and lead a team of talented cooks to add to Melbourne’s renowned food culture,” Rose continued.

The company also hopes to have a small theatrical onsite brewing function, which, like Sparkke at the Whitmore, will create limited-edition brews on site for customers. The celebration of all things brewing is a central pillar of Sparkke’s business.

Sparkke relaunches cans

Founders First CEO Mark Haysman said: “In addition to their energy and amazing drinks, we love the focus that Kari and Rose have on driving increased female participation in the category, and their laser-like focus on millennials is especially exciting. We look forward to some great times ahead.”

Rose added: “We launched Sparkke in November 2016 with the most successful pre-sale alcohol crowd funding campaign in Australian history. The company has challenged, and will continue to challenge, Australia’s $15 billion pa. male dominated alcohol industry. Our new relationship with Founders First gives Sparkke the much-needed resources and connections to help take the company to the next level.

“At heart, we’re social activists delivering to a market that wants to purchase from a company whose values and product ethos are aligned with theirs. The messages and values on our award-winning 100 percent naturally brewed products closely align with our highly engaged and passionate target audience.

“We are on a mission to be the most loved and the most successful for-purpose alcohol company in the world. This acceleration from Founders First is exactly what we have been looking for; we feel very, very lucky to be able to fully maintain our independence while resourcing for growth.”

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