Being the most remote brewery in Australia is certainly a challenge at times but the Matso's team love their spiritual home in Broome. Matso's Broome brewery as we know it began in 2000 when Martin and Kim Peirson-Jones took over a truly micro 200l brewery that was also a café and art gallery.
In 2004 the Broome brewery underwent an upgrade to a full mash brewery so that it could produce 1200L of beer at a time. With Martin's son PJ (Martin Jnr) also in the business, what was a small family owned café brewery was quickly becoming famous for its beer and demand grew so that the family decided to start hand bottling the beers.
Now the brewery is famous for its Ginger Beer and Mango Beer along with the ice-hot Chilli Beer and a range of seven products now available in bottleshops around Australia! It's still a family owned business and the three generations of family still live here in Broome and are often seen at Matso's after a hard day at work.
Now as one of Broome's most famous man-made attractions, the brewery is known for its laid back atmosphere, food and, of course, beer. Live music in the courtyard can be heard on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons with a variety of visiting artists along with performances from great local talent.
The Matso's menu features the beers throughout, whether as a food match or infused in the dish, with the chefs working hard on that perfect balance of flavours. The chefs have also created a tasty share plate menu (the fritters are delicious), full of local produce that visitors and locals all enjoy.
The Matso's Curry Hut is open seven days a week in the courtyard during the dry season. It offers authentic Indian cuisine sometimes cooked with Matso's beers (dare to try one with the Chilli Beer!)
Tap beers will change slightly from season to season, depending on what the Head Brewer has been up to! You can always get your favourites Ginger Beer, Mango Beer, Hit the Toad Lager and Bishop's Best Dark Lager along with seasonal beers like the recent Copperhead India Pale Ale plus Chilli and Lychee!
Matso's Store started life as the Union Bank of Australia Ltd and was built in 1910. It stood in Sheba Lane, which ran down the edge of Kennedys Hill. The Union Bank was the first bank in Broome and was to be a vital part of the financial life of the town for over 40 years.
During 1942 the Union Bank branch in Broome found itself trading unprofitably and caught in a rationalization of the banking industry. The year since the depression had not been kind and the pearling industry itself was changing. Plastics were beginning to have an impact on the industry. Nationally, although ninth largest, the Union Bank hadn't been meeting expectations and was the target of a takeover. As a consequence the Union Bank was absorbed into the ANZ group.
In the late 1940s, a fire, which was thought to have been intentionally lit, either by a disgruntled client of the establishment or in response to the war in the Pacific, devastated Sheba Lane. The closeness of the buildings and poor services ensured little could survive and only a few buildings escaped destruction. One of those was Matsos Store. It remained unharmed amid the ruins and remained operating. The building was sold with the redevelopment of Sheba Lane and the ANZ found new premises in Carnarvon Street.
Matsos Store was then purchased by Streeter and Male and relocated to the corner of Anne and Walcott Streets. It became known as the Number 2 Store, a name many locals still recall. When the building became surplus to the requirements of Streeter and Male, the building was transformed into a general store by the Matsumoto family and renamed Matsos Store a name which endures today. Matsos Store was eventually purchased by Lord McAlpine and once again moved to where it stands today on Hamersley Street.
In 1997 Matso's was turned into a cafe, micro-brewery and art gallery. Back then the Brewery could only manage 200L at a time (just 4 kegs), truly micro! Martin & Kim purchased Matso's in 2000 and took charge of the operations. The art gallery was then leased out so as to concentrate on the important things in life - beer & food! In 2004 a new full mash brewery capable of 1200L batches was installed and Matso's beer really took off with local and visitors alike. The beer became so popular the bar staff helped the brewer with hand bottling, sticking on the labels and hand packing cartons between serving customers so people could take it home.
By 2007 Matso's could no longer keep up with customer demand and with no space for an automatic bottling plant in the heritage building the decision was made to have the closely guarded recipes brewed off side elsewhere in WA.
Matso's now distributes Australia wide and is still a proudly family owned and operated business, the three generations of family still live in Broome and can be seen at the bar quality testing on a regular basis!