Following in no one's footsteps since 1983
We’ve always strived for natural harmony and freedom. In the 80’s, this made us outlaws; brandishing our weapons of flavour and freshness. Turns out we weren’t the only ones craving an escape from the ordinary - people embraced this new frontier of beer. Today, we’re still on the frontier.
Our Approach image 1
Elle - one of Matilda Bay's brewers


Beer is around 95% water - hence the fixation. Ours is sourced locally. Soft. Unadulterated. With our other raw ingredients, we use organic wherever we can. Then we get out of the way as much as possible and wait (and wait, and wait) while the natural flavours develop. Traditional brewing techniques take time. Slow beer makes for balanced beer.


We’re open for beer tastings and great pub food if you’re in the Yarra Valley area. We don’t generally take bookings so just turn up and we’ll find you a spot, but if you’re a big group give us a call and we can reserve you a spot in the beer hall. We’re open from Tuesday to Sunday from midday. Find us at 336 Maroondah Hwy, Healesville VIC 3777 or call the team on 03 5957 3200

Our story

Phil Sexton completes a Master of Science at Birmingham University’s British School of Malting and Brewing. Inspired by English ales and the small brewery scene, he believes lager-loving Aussies will jump at the opportunity to experience a new world of flavour.


Phil gets his mind opened by the world of beer in Europe, birthing the idea to bring it home to Australia

Phil Sexton completes a Master of Science at Birmingham University’s British School of Malting and Brewing. Inspired by English ales and the small brewery scene, he believes lager-loving Aussies will jump at the opportunity to experience a new world of flavour.

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Phil gets his mind opened by the world of beer in Europe, birthing the idea to bring it home to Australia

While recovering from a pretty serious accident, Phil convinces his hang-gliding mates, Garry Gosatti and John Tollis, to join him in starting a brewery. Quality over quantity. They convince Perth entrepreneur Peter Briggs to abandon plans to start a brewery to rival Swan and, instead, stump up the dollars for their dream. Matilda Bay (originally known as Brewtech) is born - the first new blood in Australian brewing for almost a century.


Phil turns a broken back into a lucky break, and Garry, John and Peter get around their common goal to change the world of beer

Building begins on a state-of-the-art boutique brewery in Nedlands, a suburb of Perth. Having quality custom kit from Burton upon Trent in England allows Phil to recreate classic beers that have all but passed into brewing history. First hiccup. The big brewers control the market and no one will stock their beer. Solution? They open a pub and microbrewery, converting the rundown Freemasons Hotel in Fremantle into the Sail & Anchor, reinventing pub culture in the process.


Phil and the gang take a novel approach to the supply chain issues that present themselves, taking on the big guys in the process

The micro brews start flowing. First up, Anchor Ale, a dark, traditional English ale. It is soon followed by a Mild Ale, Bitter Ale, Stout and Porter. The infamous Dogbolter makes it into the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s strongest ale, with one batch coming in at a terrifying 12.5% volume.


The now infamous Sail & Anchor starts serving Matilda Bay's new styles, bringing a new brewpub experience to Western Australia

The new brewery in Nedlands comes on stream and is considered “probably the most sophisticated microbrewery in the world”. Along with ales and pilsners, they create a second pub – The Brewery Ale House, in Nedlands. WA develops a thirst for flavour. Within a year, sales rocket from $3,000 a week to $50,000 a week.


The concept of a different type of pub that appeals to men and women equally is a clear winner, and the team create a second pub in the same vein

Another year, another pub. This time the Queens Hotel in Mt Lawley. It goes on to win an Institute of Architects Award in WA in 1988.


It's not only the feel of the venues, but also the look. Their next pub The Queens would go on to win architectural awards

Cup runneth over. The America’s Cup Challenge comes to Freo, and the Sail & Anchor is the place to be. The Nedlands brewery is at capacity, and plans to redevelop the historic Swan & Emu Brewery site on Mounts Bay Road are NIMBYed. The search for a new brewery site is on.


A bit of good fortune as the America's Cup Challenge comes to Freo and puts Matilda Bay on the map

Sommer time. Bavaria becomes the place on everyone’s lips with the release of Summer Weizen (German for wheat) – the first Bavarian-style wheat beer in Australia. Incredibly popular but unpronounceable, it’s renamed Redback by the end of the year. Good dog. Dogbolter is re-released with a little less bite. This dark lager develops cult status among the swelling tribe of beer enthusiasts.


Redback comes onto the market, introducing Australians to their first proper wheat beer experience. Another first from the Matilda Bay guys

Fully invested in expansion. Matilda Bay becomes a public company and purchases the Port Melbourne Brewing Co. to brew Redback and Matilda Bay beers for the east coast. Carlton United purchases 20% of Matilda Bay Brewing. Redback is launched in cans.


With solid foundations of beer and culture, Matilda Bay charges full steam into expansion mode

Copper load of this. A beautiful French brewhouse crafted from copper (Brasserie De Clerk in Hazebrouck), is transported to North Fremantle to convert an old Ford factory into a striking new brewery. The proud copper chimneys are perfectly positioned to reflect the sun sets over the Indian Ocean.


Always thinking about the next big thing, the guys import a stunning copper kettle to build another new brewery

Waltzing Matilda. Australian brewing giant Foster’s Group purchases Matilda Bay Brewing. The hotel line-up expands to 39 (including the Redback Hotel in North Melbourne). The beer line-up expands to include Bohemian Pilsner.


Matilda Bay has fully caught the attention of the big boys and they want in. Matilda Bay becomes owned by Foster's Group, who go on to become Carlton United Breweries

After losing our way for the past few years, our founder Phil Sexton returns in 2019. Brimming with ideas and creativity, he wastes no time planning a new brewery in the pristine Yarra Valley. All beers will be brewed taking advantage of the region’s pure mountain water and wherever possible the ingredients will be organic. To maintain the natural fresh flavour of the new brews all beers will be unpasteurised and unfiltered.


After 30 long (or short?) years Phil returns to Matilda Bay, rebirthing the brand out of our new home in the Yarra Valley

Plans develop into action. The new brewery is commissioned in March, just in time to be shut down due to the pandemic. However, behind the scenes Harry Sexton, our head brewer, is continuing furiously; a European style Golden Ale along with refreshed Originals, Redback, Dogbolter and Alpha Pale Ale


It must be in the blood. Although a tough year, head brewer Harry Sexton works with Phil and the team to produce a beautiful new range of Matilda Bay beers

Our Team

Our brewing team is related by purpose (and in Phil and Harry’s case, blood). With over 40 years brewing experience Phil Sexton, our Founder and CEO, knows a thing or two about traditional beer styles. Together with son Harry they want to remind people how perfectly balanced the classics can be. They are joined by a passionate and experienced group of brewers and beer lovers from a diverse set of backgrounds. 

Phil & Harry Sexton

australia's original craft brewery

At Matilda Bay, we’ve always done things our own way.

Back in 1983 a couple of mates and I cobbled all of our savings together, with a mission to prove there was life beyond lager; to wake up drinkers to what great beer, brewed properly, could be.

The brewing establishment dismissed us as reckless cowboys. They didn't get it.

Back then ‘craft’ wasn’t a thing, it was simply what we did. It’s what we still do. It’s the interplay of science, art and a dash of wizardry to create immaculate beers, full of flavour.

The revolution had begun. Fast forward to today and you’ll find a kaleidoscope of beers, from breweries big and small, in every bottle shop.

As brewers race towards extremes, to pursue fads and novelties, Matilda Bay is back to create beer with naturally amazing flavour.

We’ll be re-mastering our greatest hits - beers that were brewed to stand the test of time - and creating future classics using time honoured techniques and just four natural ingredients. Always with our own spin.

So more than 35 years and 3500 kilometres from where it all started, we’re back to brew beautiful beer again.

Finally, a sequel that lives up to the original.