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Unmissable Australian Breweries and Distilleries for groups
Australia has an abundance of quality breweries and distilleries producing top-notch craft beers and spirits, including the non-alcoholic kind. Researching them all would be thirsty work, so here are some that are well equipped to host business events groups for experiences and events.
In Sydney/Warrane’s historic harbourfront precinct of The Rocks, Endeavour Brewing Co’s Brew Bar and Tap Rooms on Argyle Street can accommodate up to 200 guests for a private function in the building that once housed Sydney’s oldest colonial hotel. When it comes to distillery experiences in Sydney, it’s hard to go past the highly awarded Archie Rose Distilling Co. Groups can take a tour of the distillery, become a mixologist for a day, or blend their very own gin or whisky. The venue also offers exclusive experiences where guests can make pottery, scented candles and even build homes for native Australian ringtail possums (with a gin and tonic in hand, of course!).
Head west to the nation’s capital of Canberra, where the aptly named Capital Brewing Co takes the title of Australia’s first certified carbon-neutral brewery, and boasts a generous marquee-covered beer garden that accommodates up to 700 guests for an event. Groups seeking a distillery experience in Canberra can go behind the scenes at Big River Distilling Co., which creates spirits that reflect the unique Canberra environment using fresh water from the nearby Brindabella mountains.
The stretch of coastline between Byron Bay and the Sunshine Coast is dotted with boutique producers of beer and spirits, leaving groups spoiled for choice. Stone & Wood – one of Australia’s most renowned craft beer brands - has venues in both Brisbane/Meeanjin and Byron Bay, which can host groups of up to 250 and 120 respectively for private functions, as well as offering guided tours at their Byron Bay brewery.
Head north towards the Gold Coast to Husk Farm Distillery – famed for its vibrant purple ink gin – which can host 200 guests for experiences ranging from mojito-making and ‘sip and stretch’ yoga to more competitive activities like their signature ‘rum relay’ and sugar cane javelin contests.
In the Gold Coast’s Burleigh Heads, Aboriginal owned and operated Sobah HQ is Australia's first non-alcoholic craft beer company, with the goal of providing quality alcohol-free craft beer while raising positive awareness of Australian First Nations cultures. Sobah's ‘Bush Food & Brews’ experience showcases Australian native cuisine paired with non-alcoholic brews which feature indigenous ingredients like Davidson plum, pepperberry and finger lime.
In Queensland’s capital of Brisbane, Felons Brewing Co. at Howard Smith Wharves beneath the Story Bridge boasts an impressive waterfront barrel hall with capacity for 800 guests; the perfect place to enjoy an event, with optional behind-the-scenes tours of the brewery available.
Further north in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, the seaside town of Noosa is home to Seabourne Distillery which creates small-batch spirits from an infusion of local botanicals. Pull up a stool at the tasting table among the copper pot stills and enjoy a blending class or a tour of the lab and distillery, talking all things gin, distillation, native ingredients, and Noosa.
Queensland’s balmy tropical climate complements a thirst-quenching ale, and Hemingway’s Brewery on Cairns Wharf overlooking Trinity Inlet offers a fabulous vantage point for a refreshing beverage. Located within a short walk of the newly expanded Cairns Convention Centre and several high-end hotels, Hemingway’s can accommodate up to 1,000 guests across the entire venue. Start with a brewery walkthrough followed by an engaging sensory experience with interactive ingredient tables where guests can touch, smell and learn about hops and malt, then enjoy a curated tasting session guided by the expert brewery staff. The brewery also has a second venue in Port Douglas with capacity for 300 guests.
Often referred to as the craft beer capital of Australia, an incentive program in Melbourne/Narrm wouldn’t be complete without a brewery experience. There are plenty to choose from, but Moon Dog World stands out from the crowd with its jungle-themed warehouse bar complete with sprawling indoor lagoon and waterfall, elevated sun decks and a secret pinball and games room. This 700-capacity urban oasis has a range of private and semi-private spaces for events, and offers guided tours of the brewery. Nearby, Brunswick Aces is Australia’s first non-alcoholic bar, and is adept at hosting corporate events, masterclasses and team building activities. Specialising in non-alcoholic gin (sapiir), the team can also bring a pop-up bar to your offsite event.
In the Yarra Valley, Four Pillars in Healesville is well-equipped to host groups, with a mezzanine dedicated to private group tastings. Guests can also take part in a mini distillation, or watch marmalade being made from oranges leftover from the gin making process followed by a hot scone with fresh marmalade and cream.
In the Mornington Peninsula, Bass & Flinders can host groups for a gin masterclass run by an expert ‘Botanical Advisor’, or a spiced brandy masterclass – the first of its kind in Australia.
Prohibition Liquor Co – the only fully functioning distillery in the city centre of Adelaide/Tarntanya – extends a unique opportunity for guests to see the distilling process and meet the makers. Start with a tasting flight or masterclass, then see where the magic happens with the copper pot still ‘Mary’ producing hand-crafted spirits daily on site. Afterwards, enjoy a private function in this vibrant space which can be hired for groups of up to 120 guests.
In the Adelaide Hills region, LOT.100 ticks several boxes with a shared cellar door for five local beverage brands: Mismatch Brewing Co, Hills Cider Co, Adelaide Hills Distillery, Vinteloper winery and Ashton Valley Fresh juices. Tasting flights and gin blending experiences are available, and the venue caters for up to 130 guests or up to 500 in the courtyard, with a marquee available.
Over on Kangaroo Island, Australia’s first gin distillery Kangaroo Island Spirits punches well above its weight for a small producer, offering mini cocktail classes, blending experiences and premium tasting experiences hosted by experienced mixologists. For groups not venturing out of the city, the products are available for tasting at the Adelaide Central Market.
Western Australia’s capital of Perth/Boorloo is home to one of Australia’s biggest independently owned craft breweries: Gage Roads Brew Co. In prime position adjacent to the Fremantle Maritime Museum and historic B-Shed Wharf where the Rottnest Island ferry departs, Gage Roads’ brewpub is the ideal venue for groups of up to 500 to soak up the laid-back vibes of this coastal destination, with brewery tours also available. Closer to the city centre of Perth is Whipper Snapper Distillery, which specialises in hand-made whisky and runs unique whisky-centric cocktail making classes.
Head south to the Margaret River region and groups can become a graduate of Giniversity at Margaret River Distilling Co, with a blending class that teaches the building blocks of a delicious gin recipe before allowing guests to experiment with creating their very own bespoke gin blend.
In Tasmania’s capital of Hobart/nipaluna, groups can take a behind the scenes tour of Cascade Brewery – Australia’s oldest working brewery – and learn the art of one of the nation’s oldest beer recipes. Or, discover the stories behind this iconic Tasmanian institution’s magnificent site in the foothills of kunanyi/Mt Wellington on a dedicated historic tour followed by canapés and grazing tables at The Mill, the brewery's private event space which suits seated groups of up to 40 or cocktail-style events of up to 60 guests. On the other end of the scale is Manky Sally’s, a new nanobrewery by the Moo Brew team at Mona (Museum of Old and New Art) which opened in mid-2023. The intimate ‘luxe dive bar’ on Hobart’s historic Salamanca Place can be hired exclusively for groups of up to 65 guests, who can rotate between a guided tasting of experimental beers and a sneak peek into the brewery itself before enjoying a private function featuring beer-matched bites like grilled Tassie scallops and Xinjiang spiced wallaby skewers. On the waterfront, Lark Distillery – Australia’s first carbon neutral distillery - offers gin and whisky blending masterclasses alongside guided ‘Welcome to Whisky’ tastings, leading guests on a journey from grain to glass.
Published: 27 September 2023