The hotly anticipated, 700-plus capacity Moon Dog World has opened in Preston. Built into an old warehouse on a site that's longer end-to-end than the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the jungle-themed brewpub has 72 beer taps, a hidden tiki bar, a lagoon, a waterfall, a shipping container full of pinball machines and a retractable roof.
It's a significant step up from Moon Dog's original digs in Abbotsford. In 2010, when owners Josh and Jake Uljans and Karl Van Buuren started brewing beer under the Moon Dog label, it was on a system built from mismatched fermenters and old dairy tanks bought as they could afford them from eBay.
As the brand grew, the trio expanded the site to include a bar and a function space they call the Ballroom Oasis. In 2016, they took over another site on Duke Street so they could expand production, but by 2017 it was clear they'd outgrow it much sooner than expected.
After happening upon the Preston site, once a car parts factory for Toyota, and realising how much space they'd have left over once they'd installed the new brewery, the partners came up with the Moon Dog World concept.
"We wanted to create an amazing space where people can have a new experience every time they come," says Josh. "We're excited for them to see things that they've never seen before in a brewing venue or any kind of hospitality venue, maybe even in the world."
When operations were restricted to Abbotsford, Moon Dog was brewing 2.5 million litres of beer a year – enough to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool. At Preston, capacity is now 10 million litres a year. "It's very exciting to think of what we'll be able to brew now," says Josh.
Scrawled behind the bar are the names of the beers currently on tap – everything from classic lagers to barrel-aged double IPAs to fruity sours.
The wide-ranging menu includes burgers, crinkle-cut chips and baby corn dogs, skewered swordfish loin and tuna sashimi. There's also a chicken rotisserie and sides such as corn on the cob with chipotle butter.
Although the brewing operations are moving to Preston, the original Duke Street site will continue to operate as a bar. "Duke Street is always going to be our home," says Josh, "but Moon Dog World is the next evolution. It's been an incredible experience."
Open Mon-Wed 11am-10pm, Thu & Sun 11am-11pm, Fri-Sat 11am-1am.
32-46 Chifley Drive, Preston, moondogworld.com.au.