Dave’s Travel & Events Group continues to fuel the growth in beer tourism through its recent move into the Hunter Region. Operating as Dave’s Brewery Tours – Hunter Region, Dave’s will extend its current operations with Hunter Valley brewery tours and walking tours in Newcastle.
Established in Sydney in 2014, Dave’s expanded its brewery tours last year into Canberra as part of its plan to support beer communities and provide beer tourism outside capital cities. “We’re all about showcasing our local beer scene.” Says Dave Phillips. And with the beer industry alive and growing across the country, the specialist tour operator has certainly found a niche. “The move into the Hunter Region is part of our regional beer tourism plan, which is simply about getting more visitors and locals deep inside all parts of the beer community and our breweries benefit from having us around.”
Dave’s has partnered with Newcastle local Shannon Kearns to bring the Hunter Region operation to life. Kearns started One for the Road Tours in 2015, offering walking tours of Newcastle’s small bar and brewery scene, and saw the opportunity to join forces with Dave’s after contacting Phillips for advice following the launch of One For The Road. The partnership includes One For The Road moving into the group and the continuance of Newcastle walking tours.
“Working together is what local beer is all about and we’re very much aligned to that. Newcastle is becoming a more popular destination every year and is only set to grow in terms of visitation with the port becoming more active with passenger ships. I’m really excited to continue to showcase our great region, its fabulous beer community and being able to do that as part of the team at Dave’s” said Kearns.
Local partnerships have been key to the groups’ expansion plan. “We have worked hard to develop a local owner/operator partnership model which enables the right local operator to enter the Beer Tourism market without having to take the financial risk we did” explains Phillips. Having used the partnership model for both Canberra and Hunter, the group has plans for other regions. Part of the plan is their work with state and federal tourism agencies, government departments and local brewery groups to help develop beer tourism as a key offering, encouraging a change from the traditional food & wine approach to place local beer into the mind of locals and travellers alike.
“The value of beer tourism to a brewery taproom or brewpub is just starting to be realised by most, including government. We’re now sitting at the right tables raising beer tourism as a legitimate thing and being listened to, which is great. There is still a long way to go, but I think we have proved our commitment and focus in this area, and enabling locals who want to showcase their beer community through tourism is a major part of this. The work in developing the partnership model along with getting the conversation going at strategy level has been really satisfying, it’s great to be able to help others get into the space and support them in doing so.” Commented Phillips.
Hunter Region brewery tours commence in April.