The Tumut River Brewing Co started out as so many great ideas do – with two mates enjoying a beer over a campfire.
Three years and a steadily increasing stream of customers later, co-owners Simon Rossato and Tim Martin are planning a bold new move – to dramatically increase production and open their own restaurant in Tumut’s iconic Butter Factory.
The new digs will include an expanded brewery, a woodfire pizza restaurant, a play area for kids, and a pizza and beer delivery service for locals. The pair are dreaming big; hoping to become a key tourist pull for the town.
“We’re never going to sell that much beer to pubs in the area, so we need somewhere to sell it ourselves direct to the customers,” Mr Rossato said.
“It’s so difficult to get into the market because these big foreign owned beer companies have such a stranglehold that it’s virtually impossible to move in.
“It’s always going to be hard for an independent brewery, that’s the way it’s always been in Australia. So we’ll have somewhere to sell our beer, and it should be a good drawcard for tourists as well.
“Breweries have been such a big tourist attraction for other places, like Beechworth for example, so it should be good for the town as well as us.
“We just want a nice family oriented venue where you can drink in moderation without poker machines, the TAB, a big TV in your face.”
The grand opening is still a while away, with the beginning of the big move anticipated for early 2017. Plans are currently contingent on council approval.
Along with the restaurant, having a new headquarters will also make it possible for Tumut River Brewing Co to purchase new equipment and expand their production, offering their services to other craft breweries in the area.
Currently many smaller craft beer companies are forced to go through Sydney and Melbourne to produce their brews, but the new equipment will make Tumut River Brewing Co the largest brewery in the Riverina.
They will soon have the capacity to brew 2400 litres of beer a day, with plans to start off with 1200 while they find their feet – still significantly more than the 450 litres they are currently capable of producing.
They are purchasing a label maker, and will be offering unique labels on their beers for functions such as weddings, parties, and other events.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to become the hub for brewing in this area, and hopefully we’ll be able to help other craft brewers in this area to grow,” Mr Martin said.
“It’s always been our intention to have a real venue rather than a brewery, we’d like to contribute to the local community as something that people can see and do regardless of the weather.
“It’s been a long journey to get to here I can tell you.”