Beer Off The Wood
At the Breakfast Creek Hotel
The Brekky Creek is famous for being one of the few pubs in Australia to still serve beer 'off the wood' or out of wooden casks rather than the more standard stainless steel kegs and piping system.
In the late 1970s, breweries were phasing out wooden kegs. Coopers (the craftsmen who made the barrels) were becoming hard to find and the wooden kegs did not fit in with the modern production patterns of the breweries. Most hotels transferred to the new dispensing system. However, this did not impress the many waterside workers who regularly drank at the Brekky Creek - and had done so for many years. They wanted to preserve the status quo. There was also some suggestion that beer was watered as a result of the steel kegs.
One of the wharfies, Lulla Wilson, demanded that the brewery continue to deliver beer to the hotel in wooden kegs, and he led a deputation of wharfies to their head office in Adelaide Street. A petition was organised amongst the pub's regulars, managing 300 signatures in a matter of days. Wilson was quoted as saying that the Breakfast Creek Hotel, and the placing of the keg on the bar, was part of Queensland's heritage. The then ACTU President, Bob Hawke, reputedly became involved, and raised the issue with Castlemaine Perkins' Managing Director, Paddy Fitzgerald.
After some discussion, Paddy Fitzgerald agreed to the demands and kept supplying wooden kegs to the Brekky Creek. He even went to the hotel and ceremonially tapped the first keg after the standoff. A jubilant crowd of 36 waterside workers hoisted him on top of three ten-gallon wooden kegs to celebrate the occasion. Fitzgerald's popularity increased enormously that day - not only had he kept the wooden kegs but he shouted the bar all day long. The public bar was thereafter christened the Paddy Fitzgerald Bar and his portrait was installed on the wall.