Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Mystique of Cascade Brewery

The Mystique of Cascade Brewery

By Naoto Suzukawa
The Spirit News
December 9, 2075

Cascade Brewery is a brewery established in 1832 in South Hobart, Tasmania and is the oldest continually operating brewery in Australia. As well as beer, the site also produces a range of non-alcoholic products, is home to a function centre, as well as operating tourism related ventures including guided tours and a retail outlet.

The Cascade estate was originally a saw milling operation, a partnership called Macintosh and Degraves Sawmills. The mills began operation in 1825 and the brewery was founded beside the clean water of the Hobart Rivulet in 1831 by Hugh Macintosh (1776–1834) with his nephews Henry and Charles Degraves while Peter Degraves was in Hobart prison serving a five-year jail term. Until 2011 the conventional history of Cascade Brewery held that the brewery, and the other enterprises at Cascade, had been founded by Peter Degraves however research by historian Greg Jefferys for his Masters thesis showed that the major partner in the Cascade Mills and Brewery had actually been Major Hugh Macintosh and that Degraves had falsified the history of the Brewery after Macintosh's death in 1834.

Macintosh was a retired East India Company Officer who emigrated from England on his ship Hope in 1824 with his brother-in-law Peter Degraves (1778–1852). Degraves was an undischarged bankrupt and convicted thief. In 1826 charges were laid against Degraves for debts incurred in England and he was taken into custody until 1832.

As a result of Degraves' arrest Macintosh dissolved the partnership, paid all of the partnership's outstanding debts and took over the running of the sawmills with his two nephews as well as expanding his farming interests near New Norfolk. After his release in 1832 Peter Degraves took over running and expanding the Brewery on the property owned by himself and Macintosh. Macintosh moved to his farm on the banks for the Derwent River where he pursued his interests in viticulture and Merino sheep. He also, during this period, supported Henry Savery while he wrote Australia's first novel.

After Macintosh's death in December 1834 his half share of the Cascade estate passed to his son William Macintosh who lived in Madras India. Degraves offered to buy William's share but never paid his nephew and William died a pauper in 1840, still owed a small fortune by his wealthy uncle Peter Degraves After Macintosh's death Degraves continued to expand both the milling and brewing operations at the Cascade, exporting both timber and beer to mainland Australia, particularly to Victoria where the gold rush created huge demands for both timber and beer. After Degraves' death the Cascade passed into the control of his eldest son Henry Degraves however Henry died two years after his father and the management of the Brewery passed to Sir James Wilson, husband of Degraves' youngest daughter Deborah Hope Degraves. It is now owned by Foster's Group. Cascade produces a range of beers, homebrew, apple cider ('Mercury Cider' brand) and non-alcoholic beverages including apple juice, blackcurrant syrup & carbonated beverages.

The image adopted for its label in 1987, H. C. Richter's nineteenth-century illustration of the now extinct Tasmanian tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus), is from Gould's The Mammals of Australia.

Cascade is unique among Australian breweries and rare among breweries worldwide in that it operates it own maltings, producing malt for its mainstream beers (including Premium Lager & Pale Ale) from locally grown barley. Specialty malts for dark beers and the seasonal range are imported from mainland Australia and from overseas. The Cascade name is also given to the sporting event 'The Cascade Cup'.