A new craft brewery is coming to the idyllic Whitsunday Islands region of Queensland’s central coast.
Located in Cannonvale, one suburb over from the infamous backpacker destination Airlie Beach is the soon-to-open Whitsunday Islands Brewing Co.
Co-founders Dan and Jacqueline Mcleod currently own Denmans Beer Cafe in the Port of Airlie. Established in 2012 and purchased by the Mcleods in 2017, Denmans has one of the largest selections of craft beer in Queensland, with 400 different products at any one time.
Dan said that they used to stock 700 different products but couldn’t risk some of the slower movers staying on the shelf too long telling Brews News that the central coast market is very seasonal.
Having established a successful hospitality business in the area, the Mcleods decided it was time to expand operations and invest in a brewery.
With 10 years of homebrewing experience and a few short courses under his belt, Whitsunday Islands Brewery is Dan Mcleod’s first venture into commercial brewing.
“We get a good local following through our food on site, so we draw a lot of people with our food,” he explained.
“A lot of the locals are starting to get on board with craft beer now, so it’s a slow journey in north Queensland.”
He said Denmans is getting a facelift and a rebrand in the coming months to coincide with the brewery build. The newly-renovated venue will be called the Whitsunday Islands Brewery Taphouse and is set to open mid-year.
The foundations for the new Cannonvale production facility are currently being laid, with the view to installing equipment in two week’s time. The 10hL two vessel brewhouse was purchased through Precision Brewing Systems. Mcleod said that he hopes to have the brewery commissioned by April 8.
The Cannonvale site will also have a tasting room, set to be open alongside the Airlie taphouse.
Mcleod said that the taphouse will have eight taps running at any one time, with two lagers to appeal to the north Queensland crowd, two pale ales, a Belgian blonde, an IPA, a IIPA and a Weisse Canadian Pumpkin Pie beer.
Mcleod said that the pumpkin beer has been brewed with some roasted pumpkin and late additions of pumpkin pie spices like cinnamon, ginger and clove.
Whitsunday beers will be available in keg and in bottle, with a bottling line set to arrive if the cyclones stay away from DK Technologies out of New York on April 5 or 6.
McLeod said he opted to put his beer in bottles as canning lines are still comparatively more expensive.
“North Queenslanders are also still very fond of drinking beer out of bottles,” he added.
He said that in time he will move to canning.
Denmans Beer Cafe is located at Shop G15, 33 Port of Airlie Airlie Beach QLD 4802.
Brewery openings are presented by Spark Breweries and Distilleries.
Read more: How to start a brewing company: Part One.