Growing Queensland’s craft brewing and distillery scene

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Image Credit: Queensland Government
 Media Release

Since new laws were passed in March, a strong contingent of artisan distillers and craft brewers from all corners of Queensland have taken the opportunity to apply for the new artisan producer liquor licence.

The Artisan Liquor Bill, passed by Parliament on 9 March, commenced today, officially recognising the state’s artisan liquor producers in the Liquor Act 1992.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman said that since the Bill was passed, the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation has received over 40 applications.

“Queenslanders have a growing thirst for craft beer and artisan liquor,” Ms Fentiman said.

“And the thriving industry supports thousands of local jobs.

“This new licence will allow licensees to not only sell their own product as takeaway and online, they can also support other local artisan producers by selling their products on premises.

“This will support our new industries and new jobs, and is a crucial part of Queensland’s plan for economic recovery.”

The Attorney said there have been 47 applications for the new licence, 34 of which are current licensees hoping to transition to the artisan producer licence so they have more flexibility to grow their business.

“It’s fantastic to see 13 of the applications are from brand new producers applying to join this bourgeoning sector of liquor industry – both craft brewers and distillers,” she said.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the smaller players of the liquor industry to grow their businesses, the sector, and the state’s regional economy.

“I also see opportunities to access new markets overseas and interstate, which will further support employment across Queensland.

“Additionally, it is a win for Queenslanders who enjoy a craft beer, boutique spirts or wine and who like to ‘drink local’.

Aside from the advantage of being able to sell products of other Queensland artisan producers and Queensland wine for on-premises consumption, there are several other benefits to the artisan producer licence for small-sale producers.

Benefits of the new artisan producer licence include:

  • No limit to how much of their own product can be sold on their premises, providing production limits are met.
  • An option to showcase and sell samples of their wares at promotional events such as farmer’s markets, food festivals and agricultural shows.
  • The ability to sell their product as takeaway, including online.

Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing said the large number of regional applicants – including Toowoomba, Hervey Bay, the Central Highlands, Whitsundays and Tablelands – was particularly encouraging.

“It’s been a great response so far from artisan distillers and craft brewers who’ve made the most of the opportunity to get a head start on the application process,” Mr Butcher said.

“We’ve also received positive feedback from the Queensland President of Australian Distillers Association who has said that working cooperatively with the Queensland Government has led to a significant benefit for Queensland manufacturers.

“I am pleased that the Palaszczuk Government has been able to deliver this for them by listening and responding to their concerns and needs and balancing them with the requirements of the regulatory framework.

“Transitioning licensees will also have the advantage of an accelerated application process at no cost if their business model isn’t materially changing and their submission is made before 30 June 2021.”

Now that the new laws have commenced, the Queensland Government will establish a Queensland Artisan Liquor Advisory Group – providing stakeholders a platform to share feedback on the regulatory framework and future direction of the industry.