Permaculture at Murrays
At Murray’s, we know that great beer starts with great ingredients.
So we have decided to start growing our own.
Murray’s Brewing Company is located on a beautiful vineyard, in the pristine coastal environment of Port Stephens.
The vineyard was always innovative, established over 40 years ago, it is home to at least 7 varieties of grapes. Our punters know that it provides a gorgeous venue for a day out, but we wanted to take it further, we wanted to bring new life to the old vineyard.
Inspired by farming approaches that replenish the earth and contribute to our local economy, we aspire to leave the land in even better condition than we found it.
Currently there are 4 main areas of development along these lines.
Revitalising the Soil
This rare coastal vineyard is planted in very low-nutrient sand, that has further degraded over the years of monoculture farming. We are reintroducing organic material and building the soil profile through composting and mulching.
We are currently producing 1cubic metre of compost a week, by using spent grain from the brewery, green plant matter harvested off the property and wood chip from trees felled locally. We turn around 7 cubic meters of compost each week…all by hand.
In 2021, we hope to increase these levels of production.
Compost and mulch build organic matter in our sandy soils and encourage microbial growth.
We love microbes! Through fermentation, microbes are what make our beer so tasty.
But they also provide a nutrient-rich soil for our plants to grow in.
We love microbes! Microbes are what make our beer so tasty.
In nature, everything thrives in an interconnected web of life. If you think about the forests of our local National Parks...in 3m square of land you might find:
tall trees like, Angophora and Swamp Mahogany,
smaller trees like Wattles, and Tea Trees,
there would be vines and Bromeliads,
Bracken Fern, exquisite orchids,
moss and fungi
and much much more.
There would also be animal life thriving amongst it all, Goannas, Koalas, Parrots, Cockatoos, Possums, spiders, skinks, ants, beetles, tiny aphids and much much more.
Amazing webs of life that each depend on the other to survive.
By introducing new crop plants to our vineyard, we are beginning to mimic this complexity of a forest system for our farm. With our future beers, spirits and wines in mind, we have planted berries, figs, tumeric, ginger, tomato, herbs for pickling, Chinese Yams, Galangal and many more delights for the senses.
Closing the Loop
The beauty of a forest system is that it is self sustaining.
Each year the bark from the Angophora falls to the ground. It is broken down, to become nutrients in the soil, that in turn feeds the plants around it.
There is no need to bring in new organic matter to a forest, it is continuously replenishing itself. This is called a Closed Loop System, the nutrients loop via plant to animal and then back to plant.
We are taking steps to close our own loop through waste management.
Currently, we use the grains from making our beer, to make our compost and feed our plants. You drink the beer, the plants thrive on the waste.
We also collect food scraps from the very busy kitchen to feed our chickens. The chickens lay eggs that we sell to our customers. You get a yummy egg breakfast and the plants get a manure rich compost for their breakfast.
Supporting Our Local Region.
We employ a whole team of passionate locals across all areas of our Brewing Company and promote many local businesses through our social media pages. And our Cellar Door has become an artisan market for local makers full of delicious, fun and quirky products.
It is a big vision that we are holding to bring new life to our vineyard and improve the sustainability of our business. But every journey of change, starts with the first step and we are proud of the steps we are taking.