Stone & Wood Byron Bay is re-opening to the public tomorrow as a scattering of others in Western Australia, ACT, NSW and Queensland prepare to do the same in the coming days.

From Western Australia, Canberra, Sydney and on to Byron Bay and Brisbane, the brewpub is back in business from tomorrow as the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions allow them to trade.

In NSW, restaurants attached to breweries can re-open tomorrow under Stage 1 guidelines for 10 patrons at a time, on top of their staff, for table service-only food and drink.

Of the NSW breweries Beer & Brewer spoke to, Modus Operandi Brewing in Mona Vale, Yullis Brews in Alexandria and Stone & Wood in Byron Bay were all planning on opening their restaurants to the public tomorrow. Murray’s Brewing Co in Port Stephens will re-open their restaurant on Saturday.

In Canberra, Capital Brewing Co are taking bookings, where from tomorrow 10 people can experience their brewbub in two hour slots at $45 per person.

In Brisbane, brewpubs can swing open their doors once more from this Saturday and can likewise cater to 10 seated patrons at a time. Stone & Wood Brisbane will be open from Saturday.

In WA, brewpubs can re-open from Monday for up to 20 people at a time. Blasta Brewing Co has confirmed it will be open from Monday.

From Friday, Stone & Wood in Byron Bay, and from Saturday at their Brisbane venue, are inviting up to 10 people at a time to their ‘Welcome Back’ sessions (every Friday, Saturday and Sunday), where patrons pre-book their spots and preferred time slot online before heading to the brewery.

The sessions are $40 per person and include a three-beer tasting paddle, a meal, a brief tour with the Stone & Wood crew and a voucher for the bottle shop. There are four 100-minute sessions per Friday, Saturday and Sunday between 12pm to 8pm.  

Stone & Wood’s general manager Nick Boots said it had been a commercially challenging time for communities and the ability to re-open would hopefully bring them some welcome good news.

“This is about keeping people connected with one another and welcoming them back, even if it is in very small numbers,” Boots said.

“We’re putting it all together so it is safe for everyone involved. It will be table service only. There will be no formal ordering process because the package we’re offering is basically predetermined on booking.

“Everything is payWave, and between each sitting we’re dedicating 20 minutes for cleaning before the next group are allowed in.”

Jonny Bucknall, head of marketing at Modus Operandi, said they will allow 10 patrons to dine at a time and are open from 12pm to 8pm tomorrow and Saturday, and from 12pm to 4pm this Sunday.

“We are very busy preparing to welcome the public on Friday and are being extra stringent with that preparedness,” Bucknall said.

“The last thing any of us want is for all of this to fall over. But as you know, breweries are squeaky clean places at the best of times and we are going to extreme lengths to clean the place and provide hand sanitiser and dedicated washing areas.”

“We have not reached normal trading yet so we are interested to see what the public’s reaction will be. Will they come? And if they do, what will their attitude be?”

Bucknall said the on-site toilet would remain open for the public’s use and they were installing new signage that would detail best practice for patrons in regards to things like social distancing.

Yullis Brews director James Harvey said the venue was taking bookings for tomorrow onwards.

“We’ve already taken a number of reservations and it’s quite an exciting time. For us, serving the public is a pretty big part of what we do and it’s a good feeling to be close to doing that again,” Harvey said.

Murray’s Brewing Co said on their website: “We can’t wait to welcome back our community, deliver you quality food and brews and kick-off the start of a new chapter with our loyal customers by our side.”

Murray’s will open from 11am to 5.30pm from Saturday and are taking bookings of groups of 10 for 1.5 hour sessions.

However, many brewpubs who legally can re-open won’t as it isn’t economically viable at this stage.

WA’s Wild Hop Brewing Company said the state’s laws were too restrictive for them to operate as they would like to.

“We are all about families and socialisation, and we don’t feel that we will be able to offer the same experience to our customers when we are limited to just 20 people in the space in one time,” founder Ali Scott-Malcolm told Beer & Brewer.

“Plus, to get through this crisis, we basically went into hibernation. We have only just started brewing again this week, and are planning to open on the long weekend for grower fills with two fresh brews.

“We are anticipating to re-open in Phase 3, assuming that we will be able to accommodate more guests. We are waiting on further information to be released by the WA government.”

Via Facebook, WA’s Eagle Bay Brewing Co said: “Our mission is bringing people together to create memorable moments and share our love of great beer, food and wine – every time. We are currently planning towards re-opening and we want to ensure we do the right thing by our staff and community and continue to keep everyone safe.” 

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