Tucked away in an industrial estate on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is a little brewery that shows just how tough it is for a small, minimally capitalised brewery to survive in a business that regards beer as a commodity. Fortunately for beer drinkers, the same brewery shows that you don’t need a multimillion dollar operation to make great beer.
Sunshine Coast Brewery at Kunda Park, just inland from Maroochydore, was a little-known micro best known for a quirky chilli beer. That was before surprising everyone with a trophy, a near-miss and a shortlisting as finalist in the Small Brewery of the Year category at this year’s Australian International Beer Awards.
For owner, Greg Curran, getting the word out about the brewery is just as hard as getting his beers into bars and bottleshops in a state where the big brewers seemingly have a lock on pub taps.
“You really need to go out of your way to find us,” he says. “The main road used to go past us, but a bypass ended that and we can’t get a sign on the new road because you need 50,000 people through the door a year to be classed as a tourism venture.”
“Unless you’re into wine,” he adds in reference to the extended support that the Queensland Government and tourism authorities give to anything grape-related.
The 2009 Australian International Beer Awards saw the brewery hit the big time, winning the trophy for best reduced alcohol beer and a gold medal for his Dunkelweizen, only missing the trophy by a few points. And there is no shame coming second to Weihenstephan’s Dunkelweizen!
The brewery is such a small operation – less than 30,000 litres annually – that it can be difficult to find the beers but that means a visit to the brewery is almost compulsory.
Luckily for those driving, you can try their trophy-winning midstrength, a refreshing and fruitily-hopped summer ale, while your mates can try the dunkelweizen, an English bitter or the Pacific Pale. The brewery isn’t really set up for tours, but Greg is happy to show you around and Scott is always keen to talk beer. The brewery is open Wednesday to Saturdays 11am – 6pm and visitors will soon have the chance to enjoy lunch while there as they plan to introduce meals.
But take a street directory to help find the place!
Sunshine Coast Brewery
5 Endeavour Drive, Kunda Park Qld 4556
(07) 5476 6666