Local Legends: Andrew Reed- Owner and Manager of Concrete Boots
Updated: Jul 30
Today A Local Beer catches up with Local Legend, Andrew Reed. Andy is the owner & manager of Richmond based bar, Concrete Boots. Launched in 2016, Concrete Boots has become one of Melbourne’s best craft beer bars and event spaces. With a modest drink selection including 12 rotating beer taps, sustainable practices and all round casual, friendly vibes it is a favourite of many including Local Beer. I sat down with Andy (1.5 metres apart and with masks of course) to find out a little more about him and the venue.
Thanks for joining us Andy. So tell me how a young Tassie boy finds himself in Melbourne?
No problem. Yeah I came over for Uni to study Sustainable Energy and there was just so much happening here, it was sick. I loved it and yeah never left.
Well you fit right in mate. So you're obviously not pursuing a career in Sustainable energy at the moment so how did Concrete Boots come about and what has been the highlight?
Well, I live locally here in Richmond and I’ve always worked hospo, having done so since I was sixteen. On my days off I thought there was real a gap in the market for a place me and my mates would want to hang out in. Across from us is the Rising Sun which is great if you wanted to watch the sport with a pint of VB, further up you have The Grand which is great if you wanted a nice Italian meal in a more formal setting but there wasn’t a casual bar with a great drink selection. And then this place came on the market so I was like ‘Let’s do it.’’
Meeting all the local characters has been great but the highlight was definitely A Local Beer launch party last year, it was pretty wild, a pretty great time!
Haha, definitely a highlight for us too! I know the cleanup wasn’t pretty the next day sorry! Now the venue name ‘Concrete Boots’ often gets people curious, where does it come from?
Well, the name is inspired from local stories. Next door used to be an ANZ bank and in the 1920s it got held up by Squizzy Taylor. He shot at the bank manager and there is even a bullet hole in the window still there. So yeah it’s a reference to the Richmond underworld criminals and their deeds.
You have shown me that bullethole before, a pretty cool piece of history. Now you and the venue really focus on sustainability and are big supporters of other ethically minded and sustainable businesses. Do you think there can be more done in the hospitality industry in this space?
Definitely. I think all sectors need to be looking at ways to reduce their carbon footprint and overall impact on the Earth. Here we are always looking for ways to do that. All the carbon this venue produces is offset, we are striving to be a fossil fuel-free space, powered by renewable energy.
Waste is a big consideration, trying to minimise, reuse, recycle and compost as much as we can. Most weeks we have only about a garbage bag full of waste. Things like the waste beer being put on the garden as fertiliser and anything else organic going into compost is part of it. Even then, questioning what more we can do with what we have. For example we are using a lot of lemons in our cocktails and so we are looking at ways to reuse the husks which are normally just thrown out. So a housemade limoncello and cleaning products are what we are working on.
Having witnessed a lot of venues and their disinterest in their waste I think many in the industry can learn a lot from you. Just don’t get the lemon cleaning products and limoncello mixed up! How have you had to adjust your business in COVID times?
Ahah yeah well it’s a full adjustment! We don’t have our normal business so it’s just takeaways and deliveries. We have come up with cocktails we shake up and you finish off at home. Just thinking of what we can do with our limited resources really.
Well I can vouch for Tommy’s Margarita which is banging. I know you are being creative as well. You were selling ‘baggies’ of flour and yeast when the supermarkets ran out?
Haha yeah that was easy. We had bulk amounts of it so I went down to Officeworks and got some small bags to put it in for our locals. Funny stuff like that and having fun with social media helps lift the mood.
We all need that at this time I reckon. Now our traditional (not so) mystery question, who was your childhood celebrity childhood crush?
Well I didn’t really follow celebrities so…
Hang on mate I asked you this earlier and you said Sarah Michelle-Gellar.
Haha well... yeah it was probably Buffy.
Haha It’s a popular choice! Thanks for your time Andy. Any final words?
Just keep Local Alive.
Here Here. Thanks mate.
Concrete Boots is located at 381 Burnley St, Richmond VIC 3121 and delivering food, pre-made cocktails and others drink locally free of charge