It all started with a desire to break the stereotypes of beer in Australia.
Sitting around a table in an empty restaurant one night sipping on a Belgium Lambic, Josh had the idea to start a barrel-aged brewery. Chelsie, never one to step on his wild dreams, was instantly onboard.
While managing his restaurant and bar in Melbourne’s inner west, Josh noticed something was off. Night after night he’d talk to customers about beer, and he started noticing a trend – beer had a real stigma to it. But he knew it was so much more than what everyone thought it was.
Black Arts was formed with the intention to break the mould and bring some variety to the Australian market.
Their humble beginnings started with a handful of repurposed oak barrels. They patiently waited years for their beer to ferment and their house culture to develop before launching their first two beers in 2019.
Fast forward to today, past a few identity crises, inevitable growing pains and, just for the fun of it, a global pandemic.
Black Arts is here to create beers that are so much more than beer. They’re the perfect accompaniment for gathering around a table with good company, good food and good drink.
The kind of drink you enjoy with people
Whether that be family, old friends, or a loved one.
For those soul-filling moments in life where we remember to slow down and enjoy the company of others. It's the perfect companion to a picnic in the sunshine, a dinner party that lasts till the early hours of the morning, visiting those you haven't seen in a while, or even a small moment to yourself.
It's more than just a drink to us. It's the moments that are shared with it.
Named after the mystery and magic of the fermentation process
It took us years of pure grit and patience waiting for our house culture to develop before launching.
Since the very beginning, we continue to strive to accentuate the complex flavours produced by the magic of fermentating in oak barrels.
Using a solera method, where we never empty a barrel completely, our barrel-aged ales are constantly evolving.
Meet the makers
Josh has always been intrigued by flavour. It started as a boy, helping his mum in the kitchen. As soon as he was legally old enough to work, he was running the local bakery. This, naturally, lead him to running numerous cafes and bars in his twenties.
He was introduced to the world of sours when he first tasted a Boon—Belgium’s father of wild ales. The complexity of the Gueuze was so deep compared to the local Pale Ales he was used to drinking. He was hooked. And from there he was on a mission to taste all things wild and sour.
In 2014, Josh opened and managed Fox in the Corn, a bar and restaurant in Footscray. Here he showcased how vast the world of beer can be. His extensive bottle list was strongly focused on sour and wild ales.
But his love for sours didn’t stop there. He started Black Arts in 2015 with a handful of oak barrels. In late 2016, he moved on from Fox to pursue his passion for good beer and give Black Arts the time it needed.
Having grown up on the Victorian coastline where communities are close, Josh has always been inspired by the act of gathering. For him, Black Arts is the perfect companion when spending time with close friends and family.
Chelsie is often found behind the lens, not in front of it.
She never sought out to own a brewery. Like any good partner, she supported Josh with his dream to open Black Arts. She happily joined him to tour brewery after brewery and be there to bounce ideas off.
But when the initial label designs came back nothing like Josh had envisioned, Chelsie took charge. What started as label designs turned into a website, product photography and socials. Suddenly she was much more involved than she had ever anticipated, and loving every minute of it.
Chelsie has worked in the marketing and communications space for over 10 years. She’s skilled in strategy, photography, design and writing, making her the perfect right-hand-woman to Josh’s wild dreams.
She’s deeply passionate about regenerative sustainability. Having completed a course in circular materials management and permaculture, she vows to never stop learning. She’s constantly looking for new ways Black Arts can be a better business for people and the planet.
She too, loves nothing more than gathering with friends and family over good food and good drink. After all, life’s too short for mediocre.
We aim to build a sustainable brewery, for people and planet
As Black Arts grows, we continue to strive to create a sustainable business that’s conscious of the impact it has on people and the planet. This is something we know we’re not perfect at, but will evolve as we do.
These are some things we currently do to reduce our impact on the planet:
- Brew efficiently to reduce our use of energy and water.
- Send our waste product farms to feed animals or to be turned into compost.
- Use organic malt sourced from Australian regenerative farmers through Voyager Craft Malt.
- Use recyclable packaging materials, where possible.