Business Profile: The Craft and Co
Friday 10 November 2017
The Craft and Co is a foodie mecca in the heart of Collingwood. It’s difficult to easily capture what this venue does, as it seems to constantly be expanding its many activities. The venue runs a distillery, brewery, coffee roaster, micro dairy and charcuterie rooms. To complete the picture, it’s attached to its own farm and 40 acre winery in Bangholme, a short trip out of the city.
At the Collingwood site they have a calendar of classes to make cheese, salami, passata and more, and their focus on making extends to giving equipment access to local brewing clubs. From the outside it looks like a café and bar, with an eye-catching gin distillery in the window. On the menu you can order the fresh produce created on site, where they often serve unusual pairings created from the collision of makers.
Owners Paul & Lisa Baggio are third generation food lovers and makers (Paul is pictured below with Loris Sain, venue manager). Paul says, “I grew up with an Italian background and we have a saying – Food is the glue that binds the table.”
I asked if the unique concept of The Craft and Co organically grew out of a smaller idea, but Paul tells me that it was always the idea to bring artisanal makers together under one roof. He says, “The appreciation of artisanal food and production is people wanting to understand what is in their food – that transparency and understanding of 360 degree, nose to tail, paddock to platter. Food is like theatre – people want to see it made. Here they can immerse themselves and talk to the makers.”
It makes sense that they picked Collingwood as the location for their inner city home. He says, “It always struck me that artisinal production is really bohemian, and you look at what’s happening in Collingwood these days… Yarra just speaks that… what we’ve created is a tourist destination within walking distance to the city.”
As you can imagine, the venue is a large one, with a hall upstairs that hosts events such as weddings, awards ceremonies, and a Christmas market in November. It did take some time to find the right location, “We spent a lot of time wondering where to go? This site came up more than 3 years before we even started and they had tickets on this being an apartment... They asked me to put my plan together and after I started talking they just loved it. The face of one of the owners (seeing the finished venue) – she just couldn’t believe it.”
The Craft & Co is at 390 Smith St, Collingwood.
This profile is part of a series of local business profiles. Subscribe to the business e-bulletin for opportunities to be profiled.