Former director and co-founder of Newstead Brewing Co Michael Conrad is spearheading the installation of a brewery, distillery and venue at the Sunshine Coast’s Big Pineapple development.
The as-yet unnamed brewery will be part of a 400-capacity venue which will not just serve brews made on site, it will also offer taps from other regional breweries.
It will be located in the old bakery on the site, and the venue totals 2,000 square metres.
“We decided what would make the best venue was to have a small batch brewery on site, but also include taps from other local breweries,” Conrad told Brews News.
“We’re in densely populated beer brewing area, and we wanted to focus on everything regional.
“It’s the same thing with the food, so we’ll be showcasing everything made in the area.”
The Big Pineapple
“The Big Pineapple was the first agritourism venture in Australia and the problem was that it was built in 1971 and not much changed in between,” Conrad explained.
The 16-metre fibreglass pineapple used to draw 1 million visits a year according to JAM, the developers behind the 170-hectare site development.
“It died a bit of a sad death ten years ago, but it sits on this amazing parcel of 100 hectares of land facing big open fields and areas of rainforest, and they hold a big independent music festival there.”
Conrad explained that the Sunshine Coast Council connected him with developers JAM who were looking for a brewery partner for the Big Pineapple redevelopment.
So far JAM have developed a zoo – Wildlife HQ – on site, having relocated the Alma Park Zoo and the TreeTop Challenge, a high ropes and zipline course.
Conrad said that the development was focused around tourism, and the brewery will play a pivotal part in the placemaking of the Sunshine Coast.
“It’s about tourism and it’s also about employing young people, with the casual and full time jobs that even a tiny little brewery creates, it brings people into the area and keeps the locals in the area too.”
Plans are still forming for the brewery, but an order has already been placed for copper stills for the rum distillery, which are being made in Tasmania.
“From our end we’ve got excise applications in already and everything’s coming together.
“The stills arrive first week in December. We haven’t ordered brewing equipment yet but that will probably be delivered in June/July next year,” Conrad said.
He said they were thinking of going for Chinese brewing equipment instead of American “for ease, speed and flexibility”.
“No way seven years ago I would have bought from China – but the service and everything that goes with it has completely changed,” he explained.
The brewery could potentially see beers from Brouhaha, Moffat Beach Brewing Co and Land & Sea Brewery on tap as well.
The distillery will be up and running by Christmas if all goes well, and the first spirits could be poured by Easter. Meanwhile the brewpub will open by the middle of the year.