Incorporating all kinds of ingredients from Skittles and pickles to white chocolate and toffee, Dainton Beer has always stood out for their bursting bold flavours. Ahead of their appearance at Perth Craft Beer Festival 2019, CEO and Co-founder Dan Dainton spoke to us briefly about the family business, creativity in the process and the future ahead for Dainton Beer!
Dainton Beer is a family-owned and independent Victorian brewery. Tell us a bit about the story behind your brewery.
I convinced Dad that we need to get into brewing 6 years ago. I was already a professional brewer and we started as a gypsy brewer. We made beer at 7 different breweries before we settled in Carrum Downs. Before all that, I was a passionate beer lover and learnt my trade as a backyard home-brewer. I brewed 3 times a week at home, worked 2 brewery jobs and studied brewing at Fed Uni at the same time. You could say I was on a mission to make excellent beer!
What is most instrumental when it comes to running a brewery?
That and a big stick. Having good people and processes is important. Having a dream and clear values around why we exist help to keep everyone passionate and on the same page. Never lett go of the reason of why you do what you do.
Your beers have been sought after by craft beer lovers all over the nation. In what ways do you aim to innovate in the industry?
Can’t say we look at any particular ways, though we are a ’big picture’ company! We look at the quality and taste of our beers above all else. So, coming up with new and exciting flavours and styles is at the forefront of what we do. A new sour and barrel ageing program is one such way to continue the innovation.
From blood orange and smoked rye to caramel creme white chocolate, Dainton Beer has produced some insanely bold flavours. What has been the drive in creating such standout beers?
Creativity is self-expression. That’s something that is very important to us. Being oneself and being authentic to who you are is a huge thing for us, and something we want to pass onto other people.
We also believe we are leaders in the industry when it comes to flavour and style innovation, and by keeping the exciting products coming, we maintain a voice that can be used for good.
What techniques are used in ensuring that these flavours speak for (rather than overwhelm) the end result?
No techniques. Just honest feedback and the ability to take our ego out of the process. Admitting where you have failed and learning from mistakes is key. We aren’t about feeling bad or putting oneself down, but just an acknowledgement that the result was perhaps not the one we wanted. Then, we use our knowledge and skills to solve the solution for next time - to innovate.
Everyone has a favourite child. Which of your brews do you hold close to heart?
Red Eye Rye - the first beer I made for Dainton and the number one red ale in the country according to ratebeer.com. It also won Champion Australian Amber/Dark Ale at last year’s IBA awards.
What kind of food would pair best with these beers?
I don’t really care much for beer and food matchings. It can be fun and there is a place for it, though not really my thing. That being said, the Red Rye is versatile as it is hoppy, spicy and has a lovely malt backbone. I’d probably match it with a nice beef eye fillet or I’d be really happy having a wagyu burger with the lot.
Do you have any advice for people looking get into drinking craft beer?
Start with why. Do everything you can. Ask questions. Be open and honest with yourself. Be willing to sacrifice the things most important to you. It can be brutal, all-consuming and awesome all at the same time.
Where do you see the future of Dainton Beer headed?
I look at brands like Lost Abbey, Russian River, Dogfish Head, Stone and love bits and pieces of what they are doing. I’d love to see us have a very strong presence in Australia and overseas. Being an internationally recognised and distributed brand is where we are heading. Maintaining and improving the quality of our beer and our flavour is key for us. Integrity and authenticity are two things we deliver consistently to our consumers.
Lastly, which amazing new releases and classics can we expect you to bring to the Perth Craft Beer Festival?
Secrets… Though maybe you’ll get a look at some Brett barrel aged beers!