For a small regional city, Bathurst has a big name. Located some three hours west of Sydney, it’s Australia’s oldest inland settlement and like a lot of parts of regional New South Wales, the 40,000 or so people who call it home largely work across its mix of manufacturing, agriculture and education industries.

But to most of Australia and motorsports fans world-over, the Bathurst name is intrinsically linked to the Bathurst 1000; the 1,000-kilometre car race on the Mount Panorama Circuit that’s held once a year and sees the city triple in size in early October — with the race held on October 8 this year.


Around a month before last year’s race, the city became home to Reckless Brewing and while the brewery isn’t quite the tourism drawcard (yet anyway), they have hit the ground running.

In May, their XPA picked up the major trophy in the hotly contested Best Australian-Style Pale Ale category at the Australian International Beer Awards. Then in August, they went on to win the Champion Porter/Stout trophy at The Indies for their Stout, which makes them two-for-two at Australia’s two biggest beer awards. Each time, both trophies were joined by a string of gold medals.   

“That was a massive surprise at the AIBAs and there was that sense it was a fluke,” says cofounder Grace Fowler.

“But with The Indies, that cemented that our brew team is kicking goals. We love those beers, we like brewing them but for the best palates in the country to like them too, that’s just awesome.”

It’s only a year since they opened the doors to their Bathurst brewery, but the Reckless Brewing name goes back a bit further. Grace launched the brewing company with her husband, Jarrod Moore and their mate Alice Wilson in 2019 and brewed across Sydney for some years.

Well before that, Grace and Alice grew up together, with Alice meeting Jarrod at university and introducing the couple. The trio’s shared love for craft beer started in 2012, when they travelled across America together.

Grace, Jarrod and Alice

Although Alice and Jarrod kept their jobs, in accounting and data science respectively, Grace fell deeply into Sydney’s growing beer scene, first working in a craft beer bottleshop and then as a brewer, ending up at one of Sydney’s finest hop-forward breweries, Akasha Brewing.

By the time they launched Reckless together in 2019, Sydney’s craft brewery scene was a whole lot more crowded than when Grace started brewing and while they had doubts if they should really start a business together, as the brewery name suggests: Reckless was born to take chances.

“It’s not always the easiest thing in the world, but so far we’ve made it work,” Grace says. “It’s been so nice to share this journey with the people you’re closest with and while we don’t have too many overlapping skills, we have the same vision.”

When it comes to that early award success, Grace is quick to champion the brew team, led by Stephen Szabo who joined them from KAIJU as they were getting ready to open in Bathurst and recently moved into a head brewer role so Grace could focus on other parts of the business. Fellow brewer Anne-Marie Lapage previously brewed at Stomping Ground and heads up their lab and quality control program, something Grace says they didn’t want to skip despite their size.  

“Anne-Marie definitely been instrumental in the recent successes with trophies and medals, just her palate is amazing,” Grace says. “But entering those beers into the correct category is the first kind of hurdle and she really gets that.”

In an industry that’s still dominated by men and male-run business, Reckless Brewing’s position as a majority women-owned operation makes them a rarity in the Australian beer industry. In June, Lion closed the doors and ceased production of Two Birds beers, spelling the sudden end to the first Australian craft brewery run by women.

Reckless are one of the country’s largest breweries that’s majority women owned and Grace says while they didn’t set out for that to be part of their story, the fact women make up more than half of their management team isn’t an accident either.

“We work really hard to make sure our brewery is inclusive and a really nice place to work,” Grace says. “We’ve just found naturally that we’ve attracted a lot of women to our brewery and lots of them are in leadership roles.”

Since opening in Bathurst, also grown far more than they thought they would in their first year. In part, that’s thanks to locals being more eager to visit their brewery, buy their beer and proselytize for Reckless.  


“Bathurst’s craft beer appetite was a lot bigger than we anticipated,” Grace says. “We thought we’d have to kind of shove craft beer people’s throats before they really started to kind of get on board.”

“We hoped that we’d be welcomed into Bathurst and the local community, but we’ve absolutely been blown away by that local support.”

But the taproom hasn’t been solely responsible for their growth, with Jarrod adding the final month of winter has been their biggest so far in terms of wholesale. He sees their ability to cut through a crowded Australian beer industry and its more than 600 breweries as being in part thanks to their Bathurst home. Australia’s cities can be a little competitive, particularly its two largest in Sydney and Melbourne, but when you’re from a place that everyone’s at least heard if, you can stand out.  

“We’ve created our own brand which has been accepted everywhere,” Jarrod says. “We’re finding that even in Victoria we’re able to make sale easier than we would expect if we were an inner west Sydney brewery.”

Bathurst may have embraced Reckless and helped them stand out, but their decision to set up in the city happened somewhat by chance. It was during an online beer tasting with a Sydney bottleshop during one of Sydney’s lockdowns in 2021 that Grace says they first heard about an old flour mill in Bathurst that had already been home to one brewery: Two Heads Brewing, which had closed late in 2018.

“There was guy from Bathurst in the tasting,” Grace says. “And he said, ‘You know there was a brewery in Bathurst and selfishly, I’d like you to open here.

“Literally two weeks later we were signing the lease for the site.”

That site couldn’t have been more suitable either, not least because having already had a brewery in their meant Reckless didn’t have to wade through plumbing¸ electrical and the kind of zoning issues that can hold breweries up for years.


The Crago Mill is a historic flour mill that drips with charm and a cosiness while still having space for 350 people to enjoy themselves. The substantial space also gave Reckless the opportunity to provide a full kitchen and a substantial bar offering where they pour local spirits and wines alongside their own beer.

That Mill is the kind of grand building that some of Bathurst’s streets are lined with, with the city having been home to Australia’s first gold rush. That gold gave it the kind of charming, historical buildings that a sudden influx of wealth in the 19th century also brought to regional centres like Ballarat, Bendigo and Beechworth (and presumably other places that don’t start with B).

“I only knew of Bathurst because of the track, knew it as a country town but hadn’t given it much thought,” is how Grace describes it.  “But when we arrived, I realized the beauty, heritage and history of Bathurst is so remarkable.”

Thanks to its association with the motorsports, Bathurst has often been seen as a place where the locals are all bogan petrol-heads who are more likely to drink a rum and cola over a beer, let alone a nectarine sour or red IPA. It’s a reputation Reckless have leaned into a little, with their GABS festival beer a rum and cola sour they aptly named Bogan Fuel.

But both Grace and Jarrod are quick to point to how Bathurst is changing with the tourism appeal starting to bloom beyond fast cars. Nearby Orange and Mudgee have long been spots for weekend getaways thanks to their own wineries and breweries and now luxury accommodation and new restaurants have been springing up in Bathurst.

Better yet, Jarrod thinks there’s something about Bathurst that just feels different and it’s not the petrol fumes or noise of supercars either.

“I’ve never found a town more friendly than Bathurst,” Jarrod says. “It’s amazing, there’s such a vibe and people here are just so nice — that’s even before anyone found out we were opening a brewery.

“Do we just advertise for Bathurst now?”