Cam was travelling OS after quitting his music industry job in Melbourne. “When I turned up in Vancouver a friend took me out to some local bars serving a host of local microbrews on tap. I just suddenly got the picture and realised what Dave was striving for back home. My perception of beer got turned upside down right then and there. So I sent Dave a postcard that said something like “Dave, we gotta talk, we need to start a microbrewery in Melbourne…”
After two years of intensive product development in Dave’s backyard and a lot of red tape the first serious Mountain Goat beer was born. The Hightail Ale hit the shelves (well around three shelves) in October 97.
Having no money they kicked off by contract brewing their initial batches in borrowed facilities when not in use. A good way to start but they really needed their own brewery.
So while Dave was living in a disused town hall in country Victoria overseeing the brews Cam wrote a business plan and started knocking on doors in Melbourne. “Plenty of people liked the idea of owning part of a brewery but when it came down to it we were two, young, overly ambitious guys without much business experience. We approached every banking institution imaginable and most of them wouldn’t even open our business plan. Our personal position statements included three surfboards, a couple of mountain bikes and Dave’s EH Holden” says Cam. Not a lot of security for the banks evidently.
Anyway, Dave and Cam learned to be persistent. Really persistent. They finally secured the required funds from friends, family and a business banker who wanted them out of his face. They installed their own brewery in a warehouse in the back streets of Richmond.
17 years on and Mountain Goat remains 100% independent and is still led by its founders. There are around 25 full time staff and another 20 casuals. They brew all their kegged and specialty Rare Breed beers at their Richmond based microbrewery and the 330ml bottled and 375ml canned beer at a larger plant in Laverton, Melbourne.
Mountain Goat has collected a swag of awards over the years for its tasty, all natural ales and now has an ever increasing number of bars and bottleshops around the country stocking its beers on tap and in bottle.
You can visit the Richmond brewery on a Wednesday or Friday from 5pm, taste all the beers and witness new Goats coming into the world. At 6:30pm on Wednesdays there are free brewery tours available too.
So why Mountain Goat? Well, a mountain goat’s a big hairy animal that’s never gonna fall over.