Sparkke-ing real change in the pub scene

Socially active alcohol company Sparkke is set to open one of Adelaide’s first CBD-based brew pubs at the iconic Whitmore Hotel. With the help of a small group of professional investors and supporters, Sparkke has purchased the historic pub – opened 180 years ago as the Queen’s Arm Tavern – and it will undergo a $1.8 million transformation to become Sparkke At The Whitmore, with the remarkable heritage of the hotel preserved, but the theme of the venue brought into line with Sparkke’s twin business mantras – sustainability and social responsibility.

Major environmental enhancements will be made to all areas – water, light, power and access for all people. The renovation includes plans for a rooftop bar, a restaurant celebrating local produce, an upstairs function area and a downstairs beer garden.

The soul of the makeover however, will be a custom-designed nanobrewery, in the centre of the hotel and fully visible from all corners. It’s from here that Sparkke’s award-winning Head Brewer, Agi Gajic, will deliver small runs of unique, limited edition craft brews.

“The real theatre of the pub is the brewhouse,” says Agi. “We’ll be making small batch, weird and wonderful brews – most will never be repeated again. It’s a real laboratory for experimentation and pushing the boundaries around craft brewing.

“We’ll be aiming to produce a number of speciality brews each month. There will always be something new, fresh and local to try.”

Gajic says their boutique craft bottle shop will stock growlers, which allows people to take home a litre of specialised brew.

“They’re a refillable vessel – you bring them back, they get cleaned on site, and you take a fresh one home with you. Growlers are quite big in other parts of the world but haven’t fully caught on in Australia yet. They fit Sparkke perfectly.

“We see the brewery as a really important part of our business model, because you can get specialty brews into homes in an environmentally sustainable way.”

Sparkke will share the love, also featuring other craft talent from Australia and around the world in wines, spirits and other brews.

Director of Sparkke, Rose Kentish – Australia’s first Female Winemaker of the Year – says the company is excited to be working with an iconic Australian firm on the transformation.

“Our design partners are Troppo Architects, one of the nation’s most highly awarded architectural firms,” Kentish said. “They’re celebrated for their sustainable, authentic, design approach, which fits really nicely with our approach to business.

“Sparkke At The Whitmore keeps all that in mind, taking its visual cues from the heritage of the building and the historical significance of the location. Sparkke’s a social enterprise, and locating our first brew pub on Whitmore Square, in a grand old Pub with a chequered past, gives us an opportunity to physically express our brand and our values of inclusivity, raw truth, individuality and social equity.”

The venue will be “pokie-free” and is designed to increase the safety of all our patrons, with a number of features such as illuminated walls that gently light up the laneway behind the pub.

Sparkke was founded by a group of women from Adelaide less than two years ago as a “social alcohol brand”, with products like Consent Can’t Come After You Do (a national award-winning Apple Cider); What’s Planet B? (a multi bronze medal winning New England Pale Ale in support of action on climate change); Say I Do (a White Wine Bubbles in support of marriage equality); Change The Date (a Pilsner pushing for a new national day of celebration); Nipples Are Nipples (a Hard Lemonade supporting gender equality); and Boundless Plains To Share (a Ginger Beer in favour of humane asylum seeking policies and practices).

10 per cent of direct sales of each of Sparkke’s products go towards charities associated with the causes each product promotes.

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