Stalwart Brewing Company is opening a venue in the Sunshine Coast town of Nambour.
It will be moving into the heritage-listed Club Hotel site in the CBD, which is part of a special entertainment area introduced this year by the council.
Stalwart Alehouse and Brewery will be the first to take advantage of the new regulations intended to attract more hospitality businesses to the area.
Stalwart was founded by surveyor Adam Tomlinson in 2017 as a contract brewing outfit.
Since then Tomlinson has launched three beers, an American Pale Ale ‘The Sacred Chief’, a Golden Ale ‘The Dreamtime Warrior’ and ‘The Courageous Captain’, an IPA, which Stalwart says were inspired by Tomlinson’s diverse heritage, and have been featured in a number of Brisbane and Sunshine Coast venues.
“It’s exciting, I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. With the contract brewing that’s someone else’s brewery,” said Tomlinson.
“I brew it with the brewer that’s there, but this is a totally different ballgame.
“It’s one thing to open up a little production brewery in a shed, but to open a brewpub where you’re dealing with food and a whole other range of things…”
“We’ve been in quite a few well-known Brisbane bars and on the Sunny Coast. I’ve brewed at least 15 800-litre batches, so that’s a lot of schooners.
“And for every schooner, I always think, that could be a potential new customer,” Tomlinson said.
“I purchased some second-hand brewing equipment late last year from The Wig & Pen brewery in Canberra. It was an institution in Canberra for over twenty years,” explained Tomlinson.
“Apparently Chuck Hahn designed this little brewery that I bought, about 20 years ago.
“It was supposed to go to a new place in Sydney but at the last minute they decided to put in poker machines.
“I purchased that equipment and did three big trips down to Canberra to pick this gear up, it’s been sitting in a couple of sheds on the Sunshine Coast.”
The brewkit is a 5hL system, and Tomlinson said the plan was to get the brewkit in place in the alehouse before they had received planning permission allowing them to brew on site.
Development and planning
Tomlinson submitted plans for a medium impact industry usage for the site to the Sunshine Coast Council this week, but Stalwart Alehouse already has a hotel licence, enabling him to open the taproom first.
He is currently contract brewing and will be doing so until the microbrewery use is approved.
Plans for the venue have been in the works for a number of years. Originally Tomlinson wanted to have the Stalwart venue opened in 2018, but finding a suitable site proved to be the challenge.
“I was looking for a shed on the coast and couldn’t find anything that tickled my fancy. I was trying to find something a bit different with a bit of character,” he said.
“I came across the Club Hotel in Nambour which has 109 years of pub history. It was an old Queenslander style but it burnt down in 1938.
“They rebuilt it, so it’s got rich history. It is heritage-listed by the local council.
“It’s also got a kitchen so I’m trying to find someone to help me in the kitchen to sort the food.”
Stalwart has a three-year lease on the site, and Tomlinson said he was able to take advantage of the local authorities proactive attempts to reinvigorate the CBD, designating it a Special Entertainment Precinct.
“As of January, something [the council has] been working on for years is that they’ve changed the CBD of Nambor into a special entertainment precinct zoning now.
“There’s quite a few premises for lease and they’re trying to change the vibe of the centre of Nambour, trying to attract people like myself, bars and clubs.
“I’m the first to business to take advantage of this new zoning and one of the things they’re looking for are microbreweries.”
Tomlinson started brewing, as many do, following a trip to a brewery.
“In about 2008 I spent Christmas with my mate in America and he took me to a craft brewery, it was quite a big brewery and I was really impressed by the range of beers, the flavours, the styles, and the culture. I thought the whole brewing thing was a pretty cool concept.
“I came home and started to learn a bit about how to brew.”
That was 10 years ago, and in 2017 Tomlinson decided to start turning his hobby into a potential new career path, after over two decades in the surveying game.
“Three years ago I got a wholesaling producer liquor licence and started contract brewing,
“We started a Tambourine brewery Beard and Brau, and then they closed, I did at least 10 batches with him which was great. Then I found the Sunshine Coast brewery and am brewing batches with them.
“This Easter will be three years since I brewed my first commercial batch.”
But having a venue of his own will be the culmination of his plans.
“It’s been my dream since I saw that amazing setup in America that I would do this one day. When I started brewing at home there was only one brewery on the coast, the Sunshine Coast brewery.”
But Tomlinson said no one should underestimate the difficulties and challenges that come with opening a brewery.
“Even though I’ve been working on my marketing and beers, there’s still that element of unknown when you’re starting a business, that element of risk.
“There’s the dream and then there’s the reality, which includes all that minor stuff you have to work with. It’s certainly an eye-opener and a great challenge for me.”
Stalwart Alehouse is planning to be open before June 2020, and if applications to the council are successful, the brewery will be installed before the end of the year.
Brewery openings are presented by Spark Breweries and Distilleries, the finest in-venue and production brewing systems available, with local design and support.