Stone & Wood’s thoroughly modern new Byron brewery allows people to mingle with the staff, taste Pilot Batch beers poured directly from the tank, and also eat good food from 100 Mile Table with their beer. We asked Cale Watts from the Tasting Room about the new space.
Where do the customers come from? Do you find people who know the beers like to catch up when they’re in Byron?
Our visitors come from all walks of life and visit the brewery for different reasons. Since opening our doors, most visitors are holidaying beer-lovers who’ve previously enjoyed one (or more) of our beers at their local pub, a beer festival, or at one of the Karma Keg fundraisers. Some of them have been drinking our brews for nearly 10 years and come to Byron specifically to visit the new brewery!
Is there a particular kind of vibe that the staff have, do you think? They get a lot of praise online for being knowledgeable and friendly. What sort of staff member fits in well at Stone & Wood?
We’re an eclectic bunch from different backgrounds: surfers, musicians, beer gurus, and ex-pro tennis players – the list goes on! The thing that brings us together as a solid team is our passion for helpful, warm customer service – and of course, beer.
Have you noticed what people find special about the brand? Do you think that there are some values about the company that particularly attract visitors to the Byron headquarters?
The first thing that attracts visitors to the brewery is our consistently good-quality beer. After that, what often surprises people is our commitment to using beer as a way of doing ‘good’. Whether it’s through our community initiatives or the ways we seek to reduce our impact on the environment, there are plenty of stories to share about how Stone & Wood operates as a conscious business.
What do you think about the food, and how it works in the space?
The crew from 100 Mile Table have created a simple and dynamic menu that utilises fresh, local ingredients – best enjoyed with a tasting paddle of beer! The focus of our canteen is to encourage visitors to sit down and ‘eat together’ with some great, food-friendly beers. Our menu is ever changing – depending on what’s in season, as well as what’s on tap.
Besides the food, we think the brewery’s arrangement of huge brewing tanks makes for an awesome backdrop to lunch. Before coming in, not all visitors are aware of our Pilot Batch brewing plant, where our brewers create beers exclusively for the Tasting Room that pour directly from the tank. This plant allows our brewers to get experimental – to have a crack at weird and wonderful styles, as well as traditional favourites.
What’s the most common comment from visitors to the new facility?
Firstly, the building itself blows people away. It’s a big, breezy building that blurs the line between brewery and hospitality space. For the new site, the idea was to house the whole Stone & Wood Byron Bay team under the one roof, facilitating interaction between our many departments.
That’s a really important piece of the visitor experience, too: we love the idea of visitors dropping in for a paddle and lunch at our canteen, and sitting down next to someone from the finance, customer service, or marketing department! By sparking up a conversation over beer, a visitor might get an insight into how Stone & Wood operates ‘behind the scenes’ – we’d love people to know there’s a whole team of people here who contribute to what we do.
Stone & Wood’s Byron Brewery and Tasting Room | Open Mon–Fri 10am–5pm. Sat–Sun 12pm–6pm | 100 Centennial Circuit, Byron Bay | stoneandwood.com.au