Don't Drink and Drive

For Chapter 8 -- "Sometimes You Just Have to Lego"

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In my last post, I invited you to meet a strange little Australian brewery called Brewtopia.



If you can find it. The global headquarters of Brewtopia is unit #3 in a small commercial park in the Sydney suburb of Gladesville. It consists of about 1200 square feet of office space above about 1200 square feet of poured-concrete garage. The micro-brewery itelf and the warehouse are situated a bit farther out of town, but 46-48 Buffalo Road is the nerve center, teeming, during my visit, with nearly nine employees.

Downstairs, amid stacked crates of naked green longnecks, three workers affix custom labels to bottles at a less than breakneck pace. Upstairs, in a cheerful but nondescript office painted in corporate yellow and blue, the mood is also laid back. There are opium dens exhibiting a greater sense of urgency. Here, in his windlowless back office decorated with autographed rugby jerseys, CEO Liam Mulhall recalls the heady days of 2002 when he blundered into the beer business.

It is not a pretty tale.

"Myself and a couple of guys," he says, "decided for various reasons to bring a beer to market. The various reasons were we were horribly drunk on a golf course."

And their business plan, such as it was, wasn't so much an entrepreneurial idea as a dirty joke expanded into a piece of conceptual art. They contrived to develop a beer called Blowfly, nominally named after the indigenous insect, in order that one day men all over Australia could walk up to the bartenders and bark "Give me a Blowie," which is colloquially pornographic in the obvious way.

The thought of it, fueled by an overdose of Toohey's, just cracked them up. That's not surprising. What's incredible is they followed through.
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