Class of 1998

Whether you are rowing a boat or brewing a beer,

balance is vital according to Ross Brown. The rowing World Champion and Head Brewer thrived during his time at Aquinas College. Ross was a strong student, college Vice Captain, an exceptional cross-country runner and an outstanding rower.

Ross’ father Ray, a teacher, boarding house master and coach at Aquinas, was one of the great influences on his life. Ray, a tough Kiwi from Hawkes Bay, would lead by example and regularly outpace the Year 12s on the athletics and cross-country track. He brought great enthusiasm, empathy and determination to all he did, qualities he passed onto Ross.

Ray also gifted young Ross a brewing kit for his 17th birthday, unearthing a passion that was to become Ross’ career.

Following his time at Aquinas, Ross commenced his studies at Murdoch University, earning a Bachelor of Sciences in Biotechnology in 2003, followed by a Post Graduate Certificate in Micro-Brewery Management from Edith Cowan University in 2004 and a Diploma in Brewing at the prestigious Institute of Brewing and Distilling (London) in 2017.

During his undergraduate studies, Ross secured a scholarship at the Western Australian Institute of Sport in 2001 and was an outstanding athlete for the next decade, winning six World Championship medals, four national titles in the Penrith Cup event and 18 consecutive State Championship titles for Swan River Rowing Club.

In 2002, Ross won silver in the Lightweight Pair at the

World Rowing U23 Championships in Genoa, Italy and gold

the following year in the Lightweight Four event at the U23 Championships in Belgrade, Serbia. A major achievement in Ross’ rowing career was his role as reserve for the Australian rowing team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but the highlight of his sporting career was claiming gold with the Lightweight Eight crew at the 2011 World Championships in the incredibly beautiful Lake Bled in Slovenia.

Ross’ first job in brewing came as the Student Brewer and Microbiology Technical Officer at the Swan Brewery in 2008. His big break in brewing came in 2013, when Gage Roads hired him as a Shift Brewer. Ross now leads an around-the-clock team as the Head Brewer at Gage Roads, where he oversees all brewing and packaging operations.

Ross fondly recalls the camaraderie from his days at school: “At Aquinas there was such a tradition of success and a real feeling that when you put on the red and black singlet you had this “lift” from the guys who had poured their heart and soul into the sport previously.”

Rowing, like brewing, is about balance and precision, but Ross credits rowing as the ultimate team sport, teaching the importance of synchronicity and camaraderie. Rowing puts people through real pain and stress, and you need to find your rhythm with your teammates - no single person can win the race, so you need to create a space where everyone can operate at their best. This teamwork, mentorship and the strong relationships formed in rowing have propelled Ross both on and off the water.