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Melbourne Brewery offers pre-flight tipple

written by Staff reporter | February 6, 2020

Passengers travelling through Melbourne Airport’s Terminal 3 will find themselves within easy reach of a pre-flight drink following the opening of Australia’s first in-airport brewery.

A lively new addition to the Virgin Australia Terminal (Source: Stomping Ground Brewing Co)

With a design that takes inspiration from Stomping Ground’s Collingwood Beer Hall, the new Melbourne Airport venue will annually brew up to thirty specialty beers on site, with the aim of offering frequent travellers a variety of different tastes throughout the year.

Terminal 3 is one of four terminals at Melbourne Airport – Victoria’s largest aviation hub. Originally constructed to serve Ansett Australia, today the facility hosts Virgin Australia’s domestic flights – with an internal walkway connection joining it to the newer Terminal 4 – home to Tigerair and Jetstar.

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As Melbourne Airport focuses on enhancing the connection with the state of Victoria throughout Terminal 3, the addition of the brewery goes a long way to embedding local heritage within the terminal – with the new facility paying homage to the iconic beer halls that put Collingwood on the map a century ago.

In addition, Melbourne Airport’s Chief of Retail Andrew Gardiner said the new Stomping Ground brewery will assist in creating a sense of place at the airport, adding: “There’s huge demand for craft beer in Melbourne so the decision to open a brewery made sense, and we’re proud to be the first airport in Australia, and fourth airport in the world to launch the unique concept.”

Stomping Ground co-founder Justin Joiner echoed Gardiner’s comments, saying: “The enjoyment of tasting different styles of beer is behind the explosion of interest in local breweries. We’ll be tapping new beers most weeks so there could well be a new beer added between when you depart and arrive home!”

Stomping Ground joins an array of new food and beverage operators that have opened across three of Melbourne’s terminals in recent months. With a strong focus on showcasing Victorian produce, the concept intends to emulate the ‘foodie’ culture that helps define the quintessential Melbourne lifestyle.

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Recently added proprietors include Middle Ground – a dining concept by celebrity chef Shane Delia – while Cobb Lane brings bakery items to the airport grounds.

Additionally, Hawker Bar, Axil Coffee Roasters, Proud Mary and Grill’d have recently been added to the culinary selection at Melbourne; as works to better link Terminal 1, 2 and 3 are brought online.

While the introduction of an on-site brewery at Melbourne Airport is a first for Australia, it is by no means a new concept globally. In 1999 the world’s first Airport brewery was introduced at Münich Airport, Germany, amid much fanfare.

Named Airbräu, the Bavarian-inspired brewery specialises in creating speciality craft beer, with bitter lager, wheat beer and pilsners being particular specialities. Here the brewing takes place in public view – with up to 350 travellers being able to witness the production process at any given time.

Other airport brewery examples include Cigar City Brewing at Tampa International, USA and Airport Craft Brewers at O. R. Tambo in Johannesburg, South Africa.

And the push to differentiate doesn’t stop there, with airports worldwide introducing an array of concepts in an attempt to broaden their core product offering.

London Heathrow, for example, is renowned for its honeybee hives – home to 1.3 million bees. The colony – which requires a beekeeper to be kept on Heathrow’s payroll – celebrated its first-ever harvest in 2016.

Closer to home, Singapore’s Changi Airport is world-renowned for its tourist-friendly attractions, which include a butterfly sanctuary, crystal garden, indoor forests and a heritage corner; while Qatar’s Hamad International Airport offers a 25-metre lap pool for health-conscious travellers.

They serve up to 20 beers, with some soon to be brewed on-site, making it the perfect pitstop for thirsty travellers (Source: Stomping Ground Brewing Co)

Locally, Launceston Airport in Tasmania is the site of a bespoke distillery that barrels whiskey on-site, within the walls of one of Tasmania’s most iconic aviation landmarks.

Today a popular tourist attraction, Launceston Distillery’s home in the heritage-listed Hangar 17 puts it among Tasmania’s leading aviation icons – with the 1933-era building having previously been home to Holyman’s, Australian National Airways and later Ansett.

With the opening of Victoria’s newest brewery, Melbourne Airport is able to offer travellers to the Victorian capital a unique experience, which takes its place among a plethora of interesting and novel experiences being offered at airports worldwide.

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