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Hiker Brewing Co.

The Hiker Way

Daniel & I first caught up to discuss each other’s brewery plans in June 2021.  The meeting was at the suggestion of Hendo (Steve Henderson).  For those of you that don’t know Hendo, he is well known in the craft beer community, and definitely has a knack of getting like minded people together. 

At this point, I had largely given up on the idea of building my own brewery, as the costs were well above my available funds (although I do put in a lotto ticket every week).  So, I had decided the best course of action was to purchase a cafe and turn it into a craft beer bar. From there I was going to gypsy brew and have my beer on tap. All in the hope of one day having enough equity (and brand awareness) to build my own brewery.  I had found a cafe with lots of potential to be converted, but at the final hurdle the sale fell through and I was back to the drawing board. That’s another story, for another time.

Hendo suggested to Daniel that he contact me after the sale of the cafe had fallen through and we caught up to discuss where each of our plans were at.  Throughout the discussions, it was clear that we were aligned in what we were chasing; a small, family-friendly brewpub to service a local community. However, both of us didn’t have all the funds required and also both of us knew it was a huge undertaking to do it alone.

We agreed to join forces after a number of meetings and we fleshed out a high level Shareholders Agreement. It covered who would be responsible for what, and what we would bring to the table in relation to funding, skill sets, and our philosophy. We also agreed on the name for the brewery – Hiker – which I had developed my initial business plan around.  Daniel already had a gyspy brand (Ornith) and was keen to use it in some capacity. We agreed that we would use it for some of our special release beers as we get up and brewing. This whole process was very seamless – there were no disagreements between us. It felt like it was meant to be.  At a high level, Daniel would take on the role of Head Brewer, and be in control of recipe development. I would focus on the business side of the brewery, but also be involved in the brewing side.  

So our journey began to find a location that could service our needs. I will cover our search for a site in another blog post.  Just as important as finding a location was to really define what Hiker would be. To define what we are about, and where we want to end up.  Throughout my working life I have been involved in my fair share of 5 year strategic plans, but until now I have always felt that they were just words on a page.  Now owning a business with Daniel, we are in control of our destiny and we need to live and breathe what we are trying to achieve. We also need to communicate what makes us unique in an increasingly crowded beer and venue market.   

Values Bingo

Part of the journey was to really explore the true values we wanted to have in Hiker’s DNA.  I started to think heavily about what these were going to be.  I have an hour drive to work each day at Black Hops II, so I started listening to different podcasts as I traveled up and down the M1. I found one called Beer Branding Trends which is put together by CODO Designs, a US based food and beverage marketing company.  Episode 3 really struck a chord with me; it was extremely insightful -particularly around our Core Values, Mission and Vision. 

The guys spoke at length about the process they use to help their clients establish their values using a process developed by Patrick Lencioni outlined in his book The Advantage

Under the model set out in The Advantage, there are three types of values:

  • Permission to Play Values;
  • Core Values; &
  • Aspirational Values

Permission to Play Values

Let’s be frank, if you went to any craft brewery with a tap room and asked them what their values are, it would be full of buzz words.  The responses would likely be about building a community, producing high quality products that are consistent (or something very similar).  Before listening to this podcast, I would have said the same thing. Not innovative at all, and with no real benefit to any brewery trying to find space in the market (not that these values aren’t important).   Using the process from The Advantage, these are known as “Permission To Play Values”. Basically they are the minimum standards to be competitive in an industry.  For example, 10 years ago you could have gotten away with opening a brewery with average beer, but the beer landscape has changed significantly and the customer is more educated, so you need to be making good beer from day one.

Our Permission to Play Values are:

  • Keeping on Track – “Quality & Safety – What we do we do well and safety – No Compromise!”
  • One Step at a Time – “Improvement – Every day we are always looking to improve what we did the day before.” 
  • Part of the Herd –Community – We believe in the power of the communities we operate in.  We support other breweries, industry partners and our local community”.

Core Values  

Our core values are the inherent traits by which we operate, and whilst we have documented them now, it is what really brought Daniel and I together. A common belief that we can make great beer, in an awesome venue, with an awesome team, using the best ingredients available.

  • Know the Track – “Providence – We won’t compromise on quality ingredients.  We will (where possible) select ingredients with less food miles, and from other artisan producers, and we will highlight these to our patrons.”
  • The Extra Mile – “Customer Service – By ensuring the ultimate customer experience, we want to turn our guests into Hiker Advocates.”
  • Take a Hike – “Passion – This isn’t a job, it’s a calling and we love it.  We take pride in our craft and bring our best to all our endeavours.  We are passionate about Hiker and its success.”

Aspirational Values

The third level of values is around the characteristics Hiker wishes to have, but doesn’t have yet.  Daniel & I are very realistic that it is going to be a long hike to get our business model right and to achieve our goals.  Things like work / life balance, the sustainability of the business, and being innovators in beer is something that we aspire to, but baby steps are required.  We know that from the outset, it is going to take time and lots of hard work to make Hiker a success. Still, we are both passionate and determined to succeed.

  • Remember to Breathe – “Work / Life Balance –  We are striving to create a work environment that is conducive to creating the optimal work / life balance.”
  • Leave No Trace – “Sustainability – We are on a journey to create a business that has a positive impact on the environment and society.”
  • Leading the Pack – “Innovation – Deliver innovation that matters.  Be what’s next.”

The Ultimate Goal – Vision & Mission

Defining the vision and mission of any business is hard. They need to be aspirational, achievable with hard work, and importantly. easy to remember. You don’t want long statements.  The vision and mission needs to be something that Daniel and I as founders can discuss at our weekly management meetings, but also be embraced by everyone else when we do finally employ staff. 


The vision was a tricky one to define, as we don’t want to become a brewery that distributes widely in the wholesale market (not saying that we won’t in the future, when we capture lightning in a bottle). However, we want to focus on our local region but also be recognised as a brewery on the national stage.

Our Vision (Trail Head) – “To Create the Best Beer in Brisbane – We imagine Hiker reaching the summit by attaining regional presence and national awareness, so that Hiker becomes synonymous with Brisbane’s beer culture”


The goal of any brewery is to create the perfect beer.  Much like a golf player trying to have the perfect round, it is always something that you are striving to achieve.   Our mission (Pilgrimage) is based around this goal but with a little more to it as our tap room will be our main source of revenue.  Over time we will constantly improve our beers, and improve our taproom experience – so we can develop the Hiker Effect. 

Our Mission (Pilgrimage) – “To create the Perfect Pint – Beer and Taproom Experience – Our hike is to create the perfect beer, from grain to glass, to be experienced in the perfect environment”   


We have a long road (or should that be trail?) ahead, but it is one that Daniel and I are extremely excited to have started. We have some pretty exciting plans, but as the Chinese Proverb says “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”

Cheers to the Journey!  

Until next week,