In the early hours of Wednesday morning, Brody and Laticia Crawford, flanked by family and Smokin Bro and Co staff, watched on as their giant meat smoker dubbed The Governor was lowered into place at the rear of the Lewis Street address of Three Tails Brewery in Mudgee.
The smoker, adapted from an old LPG gas tank that previously serviced a chicken farm near Newcastle, was acquired by the local meat smokers in 2019 and it's been worked on ever since.
It's estimated that the sizeable smoker can smoke more than 700 kilograms of meat.
Smokin Bro and Co had their final pop up in Mudgee for the foreseeable future recently, but Brody said everyone was excited for the next step for the business, a permanent retail position in town.
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"It's definitely the next growth of the business and plans are to bring back the pop ups once we get our heads around this situation," he said.
"It could be six months, could be eight months, but it's always been planned to keep that little black caravan cruising around to the cellar doors."
Brody said the permanency is another plus, giving the business a bit more stability, along with the guaranteed crowds brought in by the brewery. The plan is to offer their product five days a week.
"Just drift in and drift out from Wednesday to Sunday it will be," Brody said.
"We can't wait actually. Basically, I resigned from my full time job in early 2020 just before COVID hit. So we've been relying on Smoking Bro and Co pop ups for our income so this being permanent will really set the business off I think.
"There will be a massive range of craft beers as well, a lot of them locally brewed right here through Nomad Brewing Company as well - in Brookvale, international craft beers and obviously our texas style american barbecue."
The collaboration has been in the works for about a year, though the seeds were planted even earlier.
"I was contacted by the guys who are in partnership with it in mid-to-late 2019 about it. We weren't quite ready for that style of business at that time," Brody said.
"But we spoke, sort of, early in 2020 about it and decided to do it, take the risk and go in with them. They were adamant - that they wanted the brewery and the smokehouse and it just made sense to be a part of it."
Speaking with the Mudgee Guardian last week (see the story online) about their new venture, the three mates behind Three Tails Brewery said they're looking forward to seeing what locals think.
Three Tails is owned by three business partners that 'all have a tale to tell about Mudgee'. "It's the three of us, hence the name 'Three Tails'," said Ned Kelly.
"It's not a pub, it's not a restaurant, it's something quite different," said co-owner, Mick Ash.
John and Kerrie Latta are the owners of the popular Nomad Brewing in Sydney, Mick and Deb Ash run a cattle farm in Apple Tree Flat, while Ned Kelly runs Kelly's Irish Pub in Mudgee.
"The idea came about over a few beers, we've all had different connections to Mudgee," said John.
The Brewpub will offer 18 craft beers on tap, many of which will be brewed onsite, along with an eclectic mix of international bottled beers, spirits and cocktails. Mudgee's wines will also be available.
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