Co-owner of Tumut River Brewing Company Tim Martin was a happy man at the weekend after managing to secure bronze at the NSW Tourism Awards in Sydney in the tourism wineries, distilleries and breweries category.
The ceremony, which was held at the Sydney Four Seasons Hotel, saw several Riverina-Murray tourism enterprises celebrated for their efforts, including the River Deck in Albury, which picked up gold, and the Deni Ute Muster and Cadell on the Murray Resort which was awarded silver.
Mr Martin said that while he had been hoping to pick up silver or gold after winning bronze the previous year, he was grateful to have received the honour nonetheless.
“At the end of the day you’ve always got to be thankful for what you get,” he said. “We did get bronze last year so we were really hoping this year to do better because I feel we had stepped up our game. But I think the other businesses had done the same which added a bit more of a competitive edge. It means that we are going to have to work harder next year to try and get the next one in the bag,” Mr Martin said.
Mr Martin said that the brewery has continued to work with Snowy Valleys Council on zoning restrictions, which may ultimately see the business relocate its operations. He said that it was a strange time for the company, with the business excelling in the awards department and yet being held back by regulations and policy.
“Work with council is slow and on-going which I’m hoping will have a positive outcome,” Mr Martin said.
“Currently we are working closely with council on the take-away food and beverage policies and I will be meeting with the General Manager this week to go over some things regarding that so hopefully things will move forward with good outcomes.
“They (council) have been supporting us in every way possible and have given me their full commitment to seeing the brewery function, but it is slow.”
Mr Martin extended his gratitude to the local community, many of which had approached him over the weeks to show support for the business.
“The biggest challenge that we have is operating a business of this size in Tumut,” Mr Martin said.
“You have to diversify in order to reach your audience and there’s money to be made in food and beverages, which is the area that we are grappling with council about.
“We do have a large audience who are travelling to Tumut to come and see the brewery but we’re not making enough yet to really survive on and we have basically been running at a loss for the last six years to keep it going. The issues we are facing with council are further setbacks for us in trying to flourish as a business. Having said that, I am looking forward to this season as summers are historically our peak time.”
Mr Martin said that he was looking forward to attending the State Business Awards on Friday.
Regional Manager for the NSW Business Chamber Andrew Cottril said that all successful businesses had been benchmarked against the very best in the state and justly recognised as shining examples of excellence in the NSW tourism economy.
“We are very proud to see formal recognition of these great local tourism attractions, and hope this will inspire further tourist, visitor and business investment in this beautiful region,” Mr Cottril said.
Speaking at the Awards, Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres highlighted the importance of tourism and events to the State’s economy and congratulated the winners.
“Tourism is vital to our State’s economy, so to be recognised at the NSW Tourism Awards is a truly outstanding achievement. I thank all of the winners for their unwavering commitment to offering our domestic and international visitors Australia’s most remarkable experiences.
“Beyond our spectacular natural scenery and iconic capital city, the highlight for many visitors to NSW is the individuals who front these award-winning experiences, who exude contagious passion and excitement and ensure every trip to our State is simply unforgettable,” Mr Ayres said.
NSW Business Chamber Chief Executive Officer Stephen Cartwright, said the group of winners and finalists should be incredibly proud of their recognition. “Award entrants continue to showcase a diverse array of talent, passion and innovative drive that allows our state’s tourism industry to thrive. Good luck to all winners continuing on to the QANTAS Australian Tourism Awards in March,” he said.