Du Cane has tapped into the beating heart of the area and in turn found a place in the hearts of locals and visitors alike.
Much like the mountain range they’re named after, Launceston’s Du Cane Brewing is a major tourist destination in a region renowned for them whilst concurrently being something that represents the local community right down to a tee.
But unlike the Du Cane Range that formed its multiple peaks over millions of years of volcanic activity, the brewing company has staked its claim rather more swiftly – albeit with a similarly explosive impact.
With a raison d’etre to see his beers speak for and go hand-in-hand with the natural wonders of their environs, head brewer and founder Will Horan (pictured above on the right) launched Du Cane a number of years ago. Yet in a little over 12 months, with co-owner Sam Reid (pictured above on the left) now in tow, the brewery has made one of the biggest jolts on the industry by any new bricks and mortar venture in the country. By opening their massive Brewery and Dining Hall back in September last year they are now not just Launceston’s only brewpub but its largest hospitality offering full-stop.
Their $2.8 million, 1,500 square-metre venue housed in a former outdoor goods store near the city’s Prince’s Square park is the local hub the community has been screaming out for and they’ve wasted no time adopting it as their latest attraction.
“All of a sudden we’re a tourist destination in a place known as a tourist destination,” Sam told us. “And that was what we set out to do. We wanted to build something for the community first and foremost, but to also build a visitor experience for what Launceston has to offer.
“Launceston has been seen as a pass through city, but we, and the locals, feel there is so much to do in and around Launceston that it needed a hub or place that could bring all that together and celebrate it.”
With their “wall of walks” at the venue – where hand-drawn maps detail hiking trails – and their entire beer range showcasing the area with names like Ascending Falling Mountain Pils to Rendezvous at Pelion Gap IPA, Du Cane has tapped into the beating heart of the area and in turn found a place in the hearts of locals and visitors alike.
“Visitors aren’t coming to Launceston to drink Boags, so we’ve wanted to celebrate everything that it means to be local,” Sam added.
“But we were pretty nervous before launching. It’s a big venue 1500 square metres. People thought we were crazy to take this on.
“But the community embraced us straight away. There really wasn’t a place before for young families to go, so that demographic was a key focus and something I feel we’ve nailed amazing well.”
Singling out Stomping Ground Brewing’s Steve Jeffares, Guy Greenstone and Justin Joiner for not just providing inspiration for Du Cane’s venue via their indomitable Collingwood brewpub but also for the guidance in getting it off the ground, Sam also cited the likes of Felons Brewing in Brisbane and Hobart Brewing Co for inspiring their offer.
“This country is spoilt for amazing brewery venues and we have looked for inspiration from some of those that do it the best. But we are our own unique selves. We’re allowing families and the community to come together and people are loving it and its authenticity. And make no mistake, we’re still very much a brewing space as well.”
With a great brand story alongside an incredible range of beers (that Beer & Brewer can personally attest to after sampling most of them in a recent tasting) and their woodfired pizzas, Du Cane have all the building blocks in place for being a successful venture. But it’s all the other little things they’ve done and are doing to become so much more than just a hospitality offering, but rather a place made for locals. From movie nights and market days to pre or post-hike get togethers, Du Cane Brewing has found the secret sauce. And as one of our judges said: “I really hope they can keep on keeping on because it’s like they’ve been in Launceston for ever. They just fit. It all works”.
What the judges said:
“Launceston has been crying out for a great brewpub and now they have a world class one that’s beautiful and complements their namesake.”
“A venue and beer for all occasions, Launceston’s first brewpub is designed to meet that primary need to get outdoors. It’s a fun and playful space where the adventurous gather to feel the sense of communion that comes from being together in the wilderness. The centrepiece of their kitchen is a big Italian woodfired pizza oven, with all food and beer showcasing local ingredients. Plus, the suitability of the building’s former life as a camping store goes beyond size and location, with hand-painted maps of local hiking routes on the walls and passes to the state’s parks available at the brewpub.”
“The brewpub has great vibes, friendly staff and good pizza — the trifecta for an outstanding experience.”