Travel 'Tipple tourism' takes off in Bundaberg as Queensland's rum city now pours something for everyone

05:20  08 august  2018
05:20  08 august  2018 Source:   abc.net.au

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It all started with the iconic Bundaberg Rum , but now the region that's home to Queensland ' s rum city is pouring award-winning craft beer, liqueur, gin and vodka, opening a new avenue of tourism for the area.

It’ s incredibly hard work and it’ s not for everyone . They’ve also got to take it slowly Even when you work forty hours a week, you have to arrange to head off after work for gym time. But eating in restaurants is such a great, social experience. It’ s something we should do at least once a week.

Suzie Clarke runs a drinks tour showcasing the skills from the region's distillers and brewers.© Provided by ABC News Suzie Clarke runs a drinks tour showcasing the skills from the region's distillers and brewers.

It all started with the iconic Bundaberg Rum, but now Queensland's rum city region is also bottling award-winning gin and vodka, craft beers, ciders, wines and liqueurs.

The Wide Bay is scattered with a craft brewery, cider house and several micro-distilleries, offering something for everyone and opening up a new avenue of tourism for the area.

While people may still come for the rum, they can now stay for a taste of everything else.

"You've pretty much got everyone covering all bases," Ohana Winery and Cider House owner Josh Phillips said.

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The whole 'Bundy Rum ' aspect may be enough to draw in tourists but after they're done taking a Someone who doesn't fit that description is beat into a coma or something otherwise newsworthy at least once a week. Bundabergunknown. Bundaberg is a city in Queensland , Australia.

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"Variety is the spice of life, everyone needs something a little bit different … we complement each other and are pretty much a one-stop shop.

Suzie Clarke has run food tours in Bundaberg for the past two years, and recently launched a standalone drinks tour due to the demand.

"Previously you'd go from one place to another and that was kind of it, where as now you can literally spend a half day going around and exploring," she said.

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"We have a different offering to other regions … we have the produce to be used in our products, as well as the skills from our distillers and brewers, and we also have a passion for drinks in this region."

"We are able to surprise and delight people, we are able to go above people's expectations, because they're comparing what their experiences have been in a wine region but what they're getting here is something different."

Something for everyone

Whether you prefer a gin and soda, pale ale, fruity cocktail, or dry cider, this region now offers something for everyone.

For the spirit drinkers, who steer away from rum, the Kalki Moon Distilling & Brewing Company, is creating award-winning gins, vodkas and liqueurs.

"In March we won gold at the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards for our Premium Gin … and at the International Wine and Spirits awards in London our little Classic Gin won gold there," owner Rick Prosser said.

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Down the road, the Bargara Brewing Company has the beer lovers covered, brewing small batch craft beer and serving them bottled, and on tap, at their own Brewhouse venue.

The Ohana Winery and Cider House, producing fruit wines and apple cider, is in the process of relocating from Childers to Bundaberg to become a part of the growing drink tour opportunities.

"It's got a great drinks culture, a great tourism culture and we've always loved being a part of it — we just wanted to be closer to the action," owner Josh Phillips said.

And just north of Bundaberg, the 1770 Distillery is producing something different again; fresh fruit liqueurs.

"It's a little bit unusual compared to the rest of the distillers … coloured by fresh fruit, flavoured by fresh fruit, there are no extra additives," owner John Richards said.

"In tourism people are looking for something different, so instead of just coming here for one item, there aare now several attractions and that makes it more interesting for the tourists."

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Rick Prosser, owner of Kalki Moon Distilling and Brewing Company, said the opportunities for the 'little guys' like them have emerged from the success of Bundaberg Rum and Bundaberg Brewed Drinks.

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The Bundaberg Rum Distillery is also in close proximity. There is an Aldi supermarket close by for It is a lovely home, and we enjoyed relaxing in the beautiful courtyard and cooling off in the pool. A classic Bundaberg suburban home, recently renovated inside, situated close to Airport & city centre.

"We're very respectful of what they do for our region; they bring around 75,000 tourists to the region each year," Mr Prosser said.

"The tourism that they bring to the area is enormous and it's not in our nature to try and compete against the bigger companies, we're just here to offer a point of difference."

The 'boutique' alcohol companies are small operations, owned and operated by local families.

"It's pretty raw; we peel mangoes by hand, we crush apples … we juice and bottle on site," Mr Phillips said.

"[Visitors] want to know where their products are coming from, what ingredients are used and how we make it.

"It's just really cool to share the story with people and how we do it."

Mr Prosser said, without the large marketing dollars, companies like theirs relied on local support and word of mouth to succeed, so they put a lot of time into creating a personal, and more intimate, experience.

"I really want people to know how it's produced, where it's produced … so we show them the process from start to finish," he said.

"With some of the bigger commercial guys, they don't get to speak one on one with the distillers, so we're very personal.

"Yes it all started with Bundy Rum, but the micro-distilling industry, and brewing, in Australia is in huge growth and people are getting more particular on how they want to spend their money and they like to see small entities having a go."

Straight from the food bowl into the bottle

A significant benefit of setting up in Bundaberg is having the ingredients on their door step, being one of the largest fruit and vegetable producing regions in the country.

"We use all the local produce we can get our hands on, and also fruit we grow in our orchard as well, and turn it into cider or wine," Mr Phillips said.

"With the fruit, I grow at least 30 per cent here on site, and people who have bought fruit trees from me, they'll come back with a box of fruit," Mr Richards said.

He said he also sourced all his strawberries from a Bundaberg farm to make his most popular liqueur.

"It's really cementing Bundaberg as a destination for food and beverage," Mr Prosser said.

"Our food that we produce here, from rockmelons, tomatoes, chillies, we're a real salad bowl for food ... the beverages are just really linking that in."

"It's getting that really nice little network.

"I expect there will be more breweries and more distilleries in the not-too-distant future popping up."

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