Far north artisan producers froth over new liquor licence

Published Thursday, 22 July, 2021 at 03:55 PM

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

Craft beer and spirit enthusiasts will be toasting the news that more than 100 craft brewers and artisan distillers have hopped-on the opportunity to apply for Queensland’s first new liquor licence in eight years.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Shannon Fentiman said that this includes nine craft brewers and artisan distillers in the far north Queensland region.

“There is a buzz growing around Queensland’s boutique alcohol scene – giving locals and tourists alike the chance to sample quality craft beer or spirits in some of the state’s most popular drinking spots, as well as some unique locations in rural and regional Queensland,” Minister Fentiman said.

“We want to support our craft brewers and distillers to continue to grow their business and create more jobs for Queenslanders as we continue our economic recovery plan.

“It’s fantastic to see there have already been 114 applications from Queensland brewers and distillers for the new artisan producer liquor licence since April.

Member for Cairns Michael Healy said the new licence allows producers to sell their own product as takeaway and online as well as showcase and sell samples at events such as festivals and markets.

“It’s great to see the new licence comes with the added opportunity to sell craft beers or spirits from other artisanal producers, as well as Queensland wines,” Mr Healy said.

“Just a quick look at what is on offer in the far north and we can see gin distilled using native botanics, whiskey made using corn grown in the volcanic soils of the Tablelands, pale ales, chilli beer, ciders and rum with hints of coffee and chocolate.”

Neddy Bedwell, who co-owns Distil on the Hill in Kuranda with husband Christian Bedwell, said the new artisan producer licence gave them the opportunity to launch their micro distillery.

“With a strong family heritage of award-winning distillers, we absolutely love artisan distilling and being able to create our own flavours and spirit,” Ms Bedwell said.

“As we are a small, new distillery, we applied for the artisan producers licence knowing it will give us the ability to sell online and feature at markets and festivals which is fundamental for our business and its growth.

“With this great opportunity we believe this licence will benefit our business with product availability, awareness and growth, and for our future plans to rapidly grow production, more creative products, a cellar door and possibly eventually a bar.”   

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 to ensure they remain boutique businesses
  • an option to showcase and sell samples of their wares at promotional events such as farmers markets, food festivals and agricultural shows
  • the ability to sell their product as takeaway, including online.

Licence applications for Far North and North Queensland have come from the following LGAs:

  • Burdekin (1)
  • Cairns (4)
  • The Tablelands (3)
  • Mareeba (1)

More information on the artisan producer licence, including FAQs and how to apply can be found on the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation’s website.



Media contact:                                       Inga Williams         0439 949 719

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