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Luke brews up a leading role

Pioneer First Nations owned and led non-alcoholic beer company Sobah Beverages is celebrating its new Head Brewer, Luke Cooper.

Wailwan man Luke Cooper has joined founder and director Gamilaraay man Dr Clinton Schultz on Sobah's brewing team as one of Australia's very few First Nations brewers, after completing his Certificate III in Food Processing Brewing (FBP30117) with TAFE Queensland.

As Sobah's new Head Brewer, Luke oversees quality control, new product development and Sobah's original core range. He's assisting with installing new brewery equipment at Sobah's new state of the art non-alcoholic brewery, and native foods brew cafe due to open on Kombumerri Country (Queensland's Gold Coast) later this year.

Helping him take on this challenge are the job-ready skills from studying in TAFE Queensland's BrewLab; a completely controlled environment with industry-standard brewing equipment, and guidance from expert teachers who taught him the skills to brew better beer.

"The teachers made understanding brewing principles easy and learning from them, and their industry experience on quality equipment was fantastic," said Luke.

"TAFE Queensland’s Brewlab provided us with a hands-on environment to all aspects of beer production and analysis which support the theoretical content we were studying."

A long-time craft beer fan, independent beer industry advocate, and craft beer awards judge, Luke joined the Sobah team in November 2021 on the back of a 20-year career in the Australian liquor industry.

Crowned the 'bushtucker brewer' by his mates in the industry and the Sobah team, Luke feels a sense of responsibility and excitement at his new role.

"Sobah's impact as a First Nations owned and led business had me truly hooked from day one. The fact that I get to work with native foods and help develop new products for a real pioneer in this fast-growing industry that matches award-winning products with a mission everyone can get behind is a real privilege,” he said.

Dr Clinton Schultz welcomed Luke to his new role: 'When we say we champion First Nations culture, that's also a rock-solid commitment to training and employing First Nations Peoples and putting them into key roles in our business.'

“Luke has heaps of industry experience, but now – with his graduation and training – he's all set to take on the important role of our lead brewer,” he added.

“As Sobah grows, we look forward to First Nations Peoples taking on leading roles in our business and underpinning our commitment to being a First Nations owned and led business,” concluded Dr Schultz.