When blokes around the world think of the perfect job, owning a brewery would be right up there, and peninsula man Matt Bebe made it happen.
On the night of his 40th birthday, Matt quit his day job and started his journey into the wonderful world of beer making, culminating in the ever-growing Mornington Peninsula Brewery.
As with all great tales, this leap of faith started a couple of years prior, over a beer and a ball game. The year was 2008 and Matt’s beloved Hawks had won the premiership when he and good mate and neighbour, Malcolm McLean got together to celebrate.
“Over a long night of drinking and talking, the focus soon turned to beer and breweries and how great it would be to start one,” says Matt. “We even looked at possible locations, beer types and labels.”
A throbbing head the next day didn’t dampen Matt’s spirits as he enthusiastically began writing up a plan, and the rest is history.
“We knew we didn’t have enough money and soon had investors that were interested in a craft brewery,” says Matt, whose background in science, sales and finance came in very handy.
“Meetings with Mal, myself and a creative director, Rod Attenborough, sealed the deal with starting a brewery based on tradition, industry and honesty that is aligned with the essence of the Mornington Peninsula.”
When the guys enlisted the services of head brewer, Andrew Gow, the mastermind behind the infamous Mornington Peninsula Brewery drops, the final piece of the puzzle fell into place.
“When Andrew accepted the offer we knew we were onto something. He has been so successful at Mountain Gate, Matilda Bay and 5 Islands, and puts his heart and soul into creating the perfect blends for our brewery,” says Matt, of the serendipitous chain of events.
On Grand Final Day, 2010, two years after that euphoric Hawthorn win, Mornington Peninsula Brewery opened its doors, and the boys would never look back, recently opening a second huge factory around the corner, lovingly referred to as the ‘mothership’.
“The brewery became all-consuming to me for at least two years. It was my oxygen,” Matt says with a laugh. “Even my wife said ‘why not just buy a Harley?’ But it was in my veins and something I had to do. I wanted to do something I was proud of. I wanted to be able to sit my grandchildren on my knee and say I followed my dreams. I wanted a brewery, a Ute and a dog and now I have them. Life couldn’t be better.”