Dan Norris, Michael
Dan Norris, Michael "Govs" McGovern and Eddie Oldfield toast the success of Black Hops. Picture Glenn Hampson

Craft brewers are clocking up overtime

RAPID red tape busting has kept the craft brewing industry alive, with changes to the law allowing for online sales as well as phone and home delivery orders meaning some artisan operators have even put on overtime for workers.

Queensland’s more than 90 independent brewers and 28 small distillers had faced massive hits after coronavirus rules forced them to close their bars and tourist outlets but a rapid change allowing them to sell direct to customers meant they could keep going, Manufacturing Minister Cameron Dick said.

The Gladstone region is home to brewers and distillers including Baffle Beer Brewery, Sick Puppy Brewery at Boyne Island and 1770 Distillery at Agnes Water.

The relaxing of licensing laws on March 27 lets craft brewers, who produce between 2500 litres and 5 million litres of product per year, and artisanal distillers, who produce between 400 litres and 450,000 litres of product per year, to sell their products online, in person or take phone orders for home deliveries, Mr Dick said.

The Queensland Fightback series, in partnership with State Development, is celebrating the way manufacturers are innovating in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to help their fellow Queenslanders.

Granddad Jack’s distillery owner David Ridden said the closure of bars and tourist attractions had craft producers facing a total shutdown but the rule change meant he’d been able to keep his eight workers in jobs.

“This new law is going to be a lifesaver for us,” Mr Ridden said.

“We would have had hundreds of people out of jobs. It’s meant I’ve been able to keep on eight staff, including overtime, to keep up with demand.”

Black Hops co-owner Dan Norris said without the law change they were looking at losing at least half their sales.

“Before the shutdowns, we’d sell about 50 per cent of our product in bottle shops and the rest at bars, including our own,” Mr Norris said.

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