Gift of The GABS with Guy Greenstone

Guy Greenstone is the Co-Founder of Stomping Ground Brewing Co., The Local Taphouse and The Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular (better known as GABS) – a key Australian craft beer festival on the calendars of brewers. It’s here that the contentious ‘Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers’ are announced.

We explore the philosophy behind Guy’s business, that underpins his independent Australian brewery, taphouse and beer festival – that almost didn’t see a second year.

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Meat Meeting with Alex Shirazi

Alex Shirazi is a co-founder of the Cultured Meat Symposium – a Silicon Valley-based conference on lab-grown or cultured meat – he’s the Founder of Phlint, a retail analytics firm and he’s also a really nice guy.  

We first met online, in the lead-up to Global Table – where he chaired a panel on the Future of Meat. Coincidentally, one of those panelists is also coming up on an episode ahead… 

After the conversation you’re about to hear at the WeWork office in Melbourne’s CBD, Alex and I continued our discussion into the early hours of the morning – prompted by the n’th round at the The Black Pearl, to wrap up. 

If you like this episode, Alex has his own podcast called Cultured Meat and Future Food, about cellular agriculture technology.

I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as we did.

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Born In Britain, Marked By Melbourne with Ian Curley

Ian Curley has had regular TV appearances, hosting his own show on Channel 7’s Conviction Kitchen and recurring guest spots on popular programs like MasterChef Australia and Yes Chef.

He’s a British-born, Australian-based chef, with a career that’s spanned kitchens from Australia to the United Kingdom.

Over those 40 years (and counting), more than half have been spent leading iconic venues in Melbourne and more recently, consulting as the creative culinary partner to the RASV Showgrounds of Victoria and Ovolo Hotels in Brisbane, Canberra, and Melbourne.

Ian’s signature style of European cuisine, that champions simplicity, as the highest form of complexity, was built from a foundation of rigorous training in his early career in London.

He’s currently the co-owner and chef at French Saloon and Kirk’s Wine Bar, Director of restaurant consultancy group, Exec Chef and has had a successful partnership with The Melbourne Racing Club since 2013. 

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Vegan Welcome At Christmas

Thanks! Oh wait, is it vegan?

Amongst the tinsel and baubles, chocolate is also a regular guest at annual Christmas festivities. But an ever-growing list of dietary requirements can make this familiar member more like an awkward relative.

With this movement in mind, we took the opportunity to interview Juliet Sampson, Founder of London’s first vegan-only chocolate cafe, Copperhouse Chocolates about her new retail business.

Firstly, can you please clarity for readers, what part of the supply chain you operate within? Are you farming, sourcing, producing, distributing etc? There’s an important distinction between chocolate producers and chocolatiers.

We are a chocolatier. However we do pay more attention to sourcing than many chocolatiers – we like to be in contact with the producers as much as we can and have visited some of the farms.

This is in contrast to, for example, Belgian chocolate, where you generally have no idea where the cocoa was grown.

Vegan chocolate isn’t a new idea but exclusive vegan chocolate retail is – and you’re the only store in London – so why is now the time to have a retail presence?

It’s mainly a personal reason – I am vegan, and have been for about twenty years. I wanted to open a chocolate shop and wasn’t comfortable profiting from dairy. With the timing, I feel that attitudes towards veganism have changed enough in the last few years that I can try to make a success of the thing that I want to do.

What adjacent industries are you looking to and learning from in the growing chocolate retail market?

We are always learning from other food businesses. In particular, I think speciality coffee has cleared a path for artisan hot chocolate to follow in.

Why aren’t there more vegan chocolate shops in London? Why haven’t other brands taken action in this space?

Some chocolate brands may be starting to add more vegan products, however if they have an existing customer base for their milk-chocolate products and don’t have the motivation to drop this then it’s probably a big leap. It’s a combination of a couple of niche markets, I’m happy to be (hopefully) leading the way.

Do you see this set to change over 2020? If so, how?

Maybe some will be watching how I do! I wouldn’t be surprised to see an increase in vegan counters or designated areas within existing shops, although I’m not sure about more dedicated fully vegan chocolate shops.

Listening to Hospopreneurs is free, but not listening could cost a lot more.

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Twice As Hungry with Mark Calabro and Shannon Hautot

  • 16 years on from starting the successful Australian point of sale system, OrderMate, Mark Calabro and Shannon Hautot have invested over $2 million in seed funding for another tech startup, HungryHungry.
  • OrderMate put Mark and Shannon in a strong position to understand the retail market providing point of sale software to over two and a half thousand Australian venues and has processed more than three billion dollars worth of food orders – that’s a lot of data. 
  • The subsequent knowledge that that’s brought, now has Mark and Shannon driving this new online ordering platform and QR ‘order at the table’ tech, with HungryHungry.
  • This is an interesting wave in mid-market retail at the moment, that previous guests Stevan Premutico and Kim Teo are also acting on. 
  • If you’re in hospitality retail – tech or ops – this is one to pay close attention to.  

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Digital Farmers' Market with Alex Stefan

Alex Stefan has been backed by Celebrity Chef, Matt Moran, for his new social marketplace for small food producers, Oomami.

Aiming to bring the farmers’ market experience online and connect consumers directly with producers, Alex is applying a life-long career in hospitality, with over half a decade as an educator of Entrepreneurship at Swinburne University.

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Steeping Leaves with Kym Cooper

Qualified Tea Master and Founder of tea retail and wholesale company, The Steepery, Kym Cooper joins us today for an interview on her journey to acquire and share knowledge of tea. 

She’s also been attributed to educating 2018 World Tea Brewers Championship Winner, Danny Andrade – a name you may recognise from Episode 55, alongside Will Sharpe at Di Bella. 

Kym has travelled extensively around the world – to tea houses, stores and estates – to understand global tea culture and since recording, has also released a nitrogen-infused sparkling tea line called East Forged.

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Is This Trend a Tall Order?

An interview with Katie Nagar, Australian Johnnie Walker Ambassador – by James Henderson.

There’s been a recent surge in interest for the Whisky Highball, a drink dating back to the 19th century (and therefore, long on the lips of bartenders), so what is driving the current trend?

We suspect that there may be deeper sociological, economic and psychological factors at play, so we engaged with Johnnie Walker (Diageo) in an attempt to understand why.

Johnnie Walker (who Katie represents) is currently running an Australian campaign on the Whisky Highball.

What’s special about this particular cocktail?

I think what makes the whisky highball so special is its versatility – the number of flavours you can choose to feature is only limited by your imagination. 

The serve itself is so simple, yet the drink offers huge complexity of flavour – it can be as simple or as elaborate as you want. The classic whisky and ginger ale can easily be made at home, while on the other end of the spectrum, you see some of Australia’s most revered bars using advanced techniques to push the boundaries of creativity, combining whisky with exotic in-house produced ingredients (sometimes even using their own equipment to carbonate).

These drinks still fit into the highball category, but are completely different takes on it.

What’s driving that interest?

For a long time, a lot of people saw whisky as being rigid and exclusionary. Whisky was considered a spirit for one particular demographic of people, and only to be consumed in one particular way – neat, with perhaps a whisper of water.

Thankfully, now people are realising that that is a load of rubbish. Whisky has a huge range of flavour, and the people who enjoy drinking it are as equally as diverse.

Furthermore, drinking whisky should be an enjoyable experience, and if you don’t like having it neat, then you are well within your rights to add whatever mixers will enrich the drinking experience for you.

When people tell me that they don’t think they like whisky, I usually respond to them with: “Do you like flavour? Then you like whisky. It’s really just about finding the whisky that speaks to you, and the style of drink that suits your palate.”

Where are trends like this emerging from? Is it a location, a person or particular demographic?

There is research indicating that lower ABV drinks are becoming increasingly popular, internationally [see: ‘YouGov / Portman Group Alcohol Alternatives Survey of 2004 UK adults: The Low and No Alcohol Boom is Here to Stay – January 2019’].

The highball is perfectly positioned within this global trend as it usually contains only one measure of spirit as a long drink, meaning you can enjoy a lighter style, lower ABV drink that still offers amazing flavour. 

What cross-industry factors (from the culinary, cultural or other worlds) have contributed to this cocktail trend? Are there demographic shifts or larger inter-industry variables forging this change?

The versatility of whisky highballs allows it to be a drink that holds relevance across a variety of cultures and nationalities.

A great example of this can be seen in Dave Broom’s book ‘Whisky: The Manual’, which evaluates 202 different whiskies based on the world’s five most popular mixers: soda water in the US and Canada, ginger ale in the UK and Ireland, cola in Eastern Europe and Russia, sweetened green tea in China and Taiwan, and coconut water in Brazil and Central America.

These are all whisky highballs, each celebrating a different mixer which embraces the flavour preferences of the peoples of that place.

I think this reflects a greater global trend of pushing for inclusiveness across a plethora of industries. 

Given that Diageo also owns Starward Whisky – a leader in the domestic market – how are other Australian whiskies holding up to compete with this trend? 

To clarify, we don’t actually own Starward. Distill Ventures is a Starward investor and Diageo is an investor of Distill Ventures.

It is apparent via our investment in Distill Ventures that Diageo views the local whisky market as having great potential. Local whisky brands help drive interest and relevance in the entire category, and that helps drive growth for all brands.

Do you see a permanent place on the menu for the Whisky Highball or will it come and go?

I believe it is here to stay. Top bars around the world are increasingly allocating more of their menu space to highball offerings.

From the conversation with Katie, the forces that are driving recent interest in the whisky highball include: a broadening of whisky understanding and adoption in the mass-market, a drive for low-ABV consumption and the Australian palate, interested in long, refreshing beverages.

As an additional note, given the prevalence of mixers here, I’m interested to know if there’s an upward-trend in carbonated drinks (including sodas, tonics and seltzers) and where they might ultimately fit in the future of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic and beverages.

The Tea Account with Jason Popelier

Jason Popelier is the CEO of FWO Chartered Accountants and CFO of Tavalon Tea Australia and New Zealand. He holds an MBA from The University of Queensland and presented a seminar on tea at the world’s largest coffee roasters competition and conference, The Golden Bean, in 2018.

As a Chartered Accountant, Jason works across a range of industries with High Net Worth individuals and consequently wears many hats – despite this, he’s still always found the time for me and been kind enough to share lessons over our many encounters. 

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Dining Them with Craig Fox

Craig Fox is the Director and Founder of Wine & Dine’m, a full-service catering company that produces over 1250 events a year.

I connected with Craig through one of his staff reaching out on LinkedIn and then again from old colleague and now listener.

I’m really glad we found the opportunity to meet up because Craig has turned out to be one of the most insightful people that I’ve crossed paths with. 

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