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Temple Brewing Founder and his Mini Cooper 5-Door Hatch

INTERVIEW: TEMPLE BREWING.

Words by Andrew Woodward.
Photographs by Joe Vuong.

It takes something special to stand out in Melbourne’s ever-growing craft beer scene, but the creatives behind the Temple Brewing Company seem to have figured out the recipe. Located in Brunswick East just off Lygon Street, locals flock to Temple for their range of distinctive, hand-crafted beers – brewed on-site and paired with a stellar menu of pub favourites as well as Mexican- and Asian-inspired dishes. 

Our friends at HEY GENTS spoke with founder, Nicholas Pang, about the brewery’s innovative approach to making beer and their plans looking forward. 

How long have you been a MINI owner, and what drew you to the brand? 

I’ve been a MINI owner since 2014. Having been a fan of the MINI Cooper since I was young, it’s been on my wish list of cars for a long time. For me, the car represents fun, excitement, luxury and performance. A car that has it all without the need for compromise.

MINI Cooper Bonnet with dark blue colour and racing stripes.
What does it mean to be a MINI owner? 

Simple—I’m part of a family that has a unique take on life.

Temple Brewing Founder getting into his MINI Cooper.
Tell us about Temple Brewing and what motivated you to start out.

I’ve always had a passion for craft beer, wine and spirits. I love hearing artisans’ stories and what inspired them to create their products. When I left my job in a professional practice, it was the perfect time for me to give it a go and see if I had what it takes.

I called the brewery Temple as a temple was the origin of beer. I wanted a place that would embrace all things craft (be it beer, wine or spirits) and support small independent businesses. Temple would make real beer, without compromise.

How would you describe the brand’s aesthetic and beer label design?

The brewery is located in Brunswick and I wanted a brand that would reflect Brunswick’s unique and diverse culture. The labels had to be fun with a cool colour palette that would highlight the uniqueness of the beer.

Temple Brewing unique beer labels.What goes into creating a new beer to add to your line up?

Contrary to popular belief it’s not all about drinking. Ok, there’s a bit of drinking but it’s more about gaining a clear understanding of what we want out of a new beer. With our new beers, we make a one-off batch and run this through our brewery bar and select customers to get feedback.

Temple Brewing founder Nicholas Pang tests his beer.Brewing equipment at Temple Brewing.
From there, we adjust the recipe based on the feedback and make another small batch (most beers that we commercialise have gone through between three to five small batch brews). From a timing perspective, it could take up to a year before we’re comfortable with introducing a new beer in our core range.

What’s your most popular beer at the moment?

One of our most popular beers is the Okinawa Sour. It’s a beer that was created when I was a bit tipsy one night at a bar called Horse Bazaar, which is owned by my friend, Fumi Tamura. He had visitors from the prefecture of Okinawa and they’d left him with a sample of juice from the Shikuwasa fruit—a citrus fruit that only grows on the island of Okinawa, Japan.

I had a taste and knew straight away that we could make a pretty unique beer out of it. With Fumi’s help, we contacted the prefecture of Okinawa to seek permission to use the Shikuwasa fruit, then we spoke to the suppliers and collaborated with them to become one of the few Australian companies to bring this juice into the country.

Temple Brewing’s most popular beer Okinawa Sour

Tell us about the design and atmosphere of your brewhouse bar.

The Temple Brewhouse bar is designed to showcase the brewery while providing a relaxed atmosphere to enjoy our beers paired with food specially designed to complement them. For something extra, we have a function room upstairs which we also use for beer talks and training.

Our beer garden is quintessential Brunswick and a great place to chill out on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

Temple Brewing Beer Garden.Founder Nicholas Pang sitting inside his Temple Brewing Bar
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced with the business so far? 

Competition. In the last five years, the craft beer industry has exploded and there are new breweries opening almost every month. New beers are being launched almost weekly and consumers are constantly seeking the next new beer. The business needs to be able to compete against this and achieve volume growth.

Founder Nicholas Pang overlooking the brewery and beer volume.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received along the way?

Believe and trust in yourself. Getting advice and feedback is imperative, but, in many cases, you may become overloaded with information. Ultimately, you have to trust your own decisions and not be afraid of failing.

We all fail. It's how we learn.

What's next for Temple Brewing?

Make more beer!