What Would They Know? Kate Ercolani of Moon Dog Craft Brewery

by | Venue Wisdom, What Would They Know?, Wisdom


Ms Floral

A converted red brick warehouse featuring chandeliers, fairy lights, exposed beams, retractable roof and a backdrop of four large fermentation tanks? Sounds pretty amazing, right? That’s the Ballroom Oasis, housed inside Moon Dog Craft Brewery in the backstreets of inner Melbourne’s Abbotsford. Today I’m talking to Kate Ercolani, Moon Dog’s function manager, about what makes the Ballroom Oasis the perfect spot for weddings and how couples can get creative with the space and vendor choices to personalise their big day.

Tell us about Moon Dog Craft Brewery…
Moon Dog Craft Brewery is located in the back streets of Abbottsford. We’ve been brewing delicious beers for almost 10 years now! While we started off small back when craft beer was barely a thing in Australia, we have now taken over four buildings in Duke Street with a dedicated bar, a fantastic function space and a huge brewery!

How did the business start out and how has it evolved into what it is today?
The business started with two brothers and a school friend travelling to the US and discovering all the amazing styles of beers they had over there, while in Australia there was nothing like it. They then came back to Melbourne and started experimenting with different flavours and concepts. One of our most popular beers is a Red Skin stout – a beer brewed with thousands of Red Skin lollies in it! Now it looks a whole lot different though; we have a huge brewery (and even bigger one opening at the end of the year), a pumping bar and over 70 staff!

What’s your favourite Moon Dog brew? 
It’s hard to go past Old Mate pale ale. A super tasty American style pale ale that has a nice peachy aroma. If you’re after something a little different, then our Splice of Heaven pine lime ice cream IPA is a cracking beer to have over summer. It really tastes just like the original Splice ice cream!

What do you love about working at Moon Dog?

Moon Dog is such a fun and ever-changing place to work. It’s hard to think only a couple of years ago we were all jammed in a tiny office brewing beer and running around Melbourne selling it. We now have over 70 staff, reps all throughout Australia, and even send beer to over 15 different countries!

When is the Ballroom Oasis available?
The Ballroom is available pretty much any day of the week! On weekdays we’re licensed from 4PM through 11PM and on weekends you have a bit more flexibility with a license from 12PM to 11PM.

How many guest numbers can you cater for?
The Ballroom is quite spacious and open-plan which means it’s really well suited for large events of up to 120 guests but is equally as fitting for more intimate events with 50-60 guests. The space is quite versatile and can easily be arranged to better suit your group size!

Can you have a wedding ceremony there or just reception?
We’ve hosted many a wedding ceremony! We’re generally more suited to a casual style as opposed to the traditional sit-down ceremony but we’ve certainly had all different sorts be a success in the space!

Tell us about the food and drinks…

We offer the option to run the bar as normal with a bar tab or pay as you go, or you can take advantage of our beverage package with unlimited wine, house-made beer, soft drinks, and cider. As we lack kitchen facilities of any kind, food must be organised with an outside vendor. We particularly love the way food trucks compliment the space and have a preferred list of food vendors for anyone who’s not too sure what they want!

Can you organise food trucks?
We’re more than happy to give recommendations on our favourite food trucks and catering companies that we’ve worked with and have always been crowd pleasers or you can opt to choose something on your own!

What’s the space like? What kinds of weddings can couples have in it?
We like to think of the space as a bit of a blank canvas, with a lot of exposed brick, wooden beams, fairy lights and greenery. And four big shiny beer tanks to remind you that you’re in a working brewery!

We’ve seen it all at Moon Dog, from the most laidback weddings with Elvis officiating, to luxury stylised weddings that look like they’re straight out of a magazine and everything in between. The flexibility of the space means it suits any budget and idea!

What draws people to Moon Dog, particularly for weddings?

Our laidback, fun filled attitude means your day will be an absolute blast. We are not locked in with any set caterers, DJs or any other vendors so you can do it however you like! We just want to make it as easy and fun as possible for you and your guests.

Our location is another plus, it’s a totally unique industrial setting that’s only a few minutes from a tram stop. It makes it very easy to co-ordinate vendors and guests. And of course, our delicious and fun beers are always a big hit and talking point!

You say that you put the ‘fun’ in functions! How so?
Honestly at Moon Dog the sky’s the limit! A drag show in the middle of your wedding? Done it! Roller disco dance floor, we can make it happen! Filling the space with tonnes of sand to make a big indoor beach, hell yeah! Every wedding at Moon Dog is always a laugh no matter how traditional or crazy -our super fun staff make every night awesome, guaranteed!

What kind of music can you have in the Ballroom?
You can either bring in a bangin’ DJ or save some dollars and plug in a playlist!

Bottom image: RTB Photography

Does your team offer planning and styling services or do you work with specific suppliers?
We simply offer the space, some friendly suggestions if wanted, and a helping hand so you can spend your hard-earned cash in the areas that matter most to you!

Some people have friends and family cater the food but put a lot in to the styling or vice versa. Some people just want to drop a big bar tab and party! We are just a neat space full of potential (and a fully stocked bar!).

Can couples use their own suppliers, e.g. florists, cake, styling etc?
Yep, 100%

When booking a wedding at Moon Dog, does the couple liaise with the same wedding planner throughout the whole wedding journey?
As functions manager I will be your port of call throughout, and behind the bar on the big day!

What’s been your favourite wedding (or engagement party) there? What kind of set up did it have

Other than friends’ weddings, that are always super lovely, I’m a big fan of the dress up/theme weddings – Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers got married here once! We also had an 70s prom wedding that was so much fun and looked incredible! But every wedding always has something super cool and unique that makes it memorable, they’re never dull at Moon Dog!

What décor ideas have you seen there lately that other couples might like to consider?
Our overhead beams mean you can hang all kinds of stuff with ease, I’ve seen so many beautiful floral fixtures that look really chic but are not too tricky to put together. And the balloon drop at the 70s prom was loads of fun too!

Thank you Kate for sharing with us what makes Moon Dog Craft Brewery such a special (and fun!) place to get married and have an awesome party after! We love how much personality your couples inject into the space. Head on over to the Moon Dog Craft Brewery website to find out more about this exciting Melbourne venue.

Photos by Jacinta Kuras
Headshot courtesy of Moon Dog Craft Brewery


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