More than just a beer: the story of Young Henrys

Sydney brewing phenomenon and AGL business customer, Young Henrys, featured in our recent TV commercial and shared their story of progress.

Progress Your Work
5 min read
To Oscar McMahon, co-founder of Sydney brewing phenomenon and AGL business customer Young Henrys, the mission has always been simple: to “create a beer company that was in touch with the people drinking the beer.”

Fittingly, Young Henrys itself was born over a beer. Back in 2010, Oscar and a mate, Richard Adamson, started a beer appreciation club in their native, inner-Sydney suburb of Newtown with a focus on the emerging Australian craft beer scene.

“We were reaching out to these tiny breweries, and you could tell there was something really exciting going on,” says Oscar. After yet another packed club meeting, the two sat down together, opened a beer and decided that they needed to become part of the movement.

Since that fateful conversation, the growth of Young Henrys has been little short of astronomical.

<filming prior to Covid19>

When they started selling beer in 2012, they had eight customers, the same number of employees and were producing a few dozen kegs each week. Fast forward seven years and more than 80 staff ensure the distribution of 1,500 kegs of beer a week to over 2,000 bars, pubs and bottle shops all around Australia.

“Last year we shipped 5.8 million litres. That is a lot more beer than we ever thought we’d sell,” says Oscar.

Staff at brewery swapping beer barrels at warehouse

One of the greatest challenges the company now faces is ensuring that this progress doesn’t come at the expense of the community ethos that drove them in the first place. “At Young Henrys we trust our gut and growth is only acceptable if it’s done our way,” says Oscar.

“If we stick to our values and we stick to our belief as a company, that is our point of difference, and that will allow us to grow.”

For Young Henrys, this has meant a pronounced focus on sustainability at every step. “We put in a high-efficiency brewing system to get almost 20% more out of our main waste product – malted barley,” says Oscar.

YoungHenry's

On the brewery’s roof, there’s a community-owned solar farm while above the tanks, the CO2 emitted by the brewing process feeds two 400-litre bioreactors of algae. “Together those bioreactors are kicking out the same amount of oxygen as two hectares of Australian rainforest.”

This emphasis on sustainability is part of the reason why the company saw AGL as such a natural fit. “It’s really important to us that AGL is investing heavily into renewable energy sources – hydroelectricity, wind farms, solar,” says Oscar. “Business needs to lead the way for policymakers. They can actually push us towards a more sustainable future.”

When it comes to facing the future, Oscar says “it’s all about being positive and being proactive.”

“We need a lot of energy to keep pushing forward. Our company becomes better, stronger and more ethical every year that we exist."

In recent times Young Henry’s has taken their innovative and sustainability practices even further, adapting to the need of the current times. While social outings and get togethers have come to a holt, they’ve pivoted and used their high quality ethanol to make hand sanitiser.

“I’m really proud to own an independent Australian company that employs so many incredible, young, interesting Australian people. The future is bright.”

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