Western Australia’s Beerfarm will receive a $900,000 grant from the NSW state government to help build a production brewery and restaurant on a 10-hectare rural property (pictured above) north of Sydney.
The Margaret River-based brewing company lodged a development application with the Central Coast Council back in April to take their paddock-to-plate brewpub experience to the town of Halloran on the NSW Central Coast – which is a little over an hour’s drive from downtown Sydney. You can read our story about their plans here.
Despite that DA still being under assessment, the Berejiklian government has now announced, that as part of its $100 million Regional Job Creation Fund, Beerfarm has been provisionally granted $900,000 to help finance their east coast expansion. The fund is designed to create more than 5,000 new direct jobs in regional NSW by providing incentives to expand and keep operations in regional areas. Aside from engaging local contractors for the development’s construction, Beerfarm hope to employ 47 new fulltime staff over the next two years to help operate the planned 1,750-square-metre production brewery and packaging facility plus a 450-seat restaurant (an architect’s drawing of Beerfarm’s plans for the Halloran site is pictured below where the restaurant building is to the left of the market grounds and the brewery building is in the foreground).
Jervis Bay Brewing and Tumut River Brewing – both based in regional areas of NSW – had earlier this year received grants as part of the fund also. Jervis Bay received $600,000 to expand its operations, which it said would lead to 30 new fulltime staff, while Tumut River was awarded $140,000 to increase capacity and in turn employ seven extra fulltime employees.
Beerfarm’s general manager George Scott told Beer & Brewer he was confident of the DA being approved and being able to put the $900,000 to good use before long. He said there had been a “groundswell of support” from the local community for what they were planning and as yet there had been no submissions made in objection to it nor had the council asked for any alterations thus far on the original scope of the build.
“The overwhelming feeling from the community has been in support. And now, with the support from the state government, hopefully things move along a bit quicker (with the DA),” he said. “We spent a lot of time pulling the application together to make sure it was right by our own environmental standards and the impact on the ground – and we hope (our plans) have room to grow, especially on the production side.”
George said Beerfarm had been eyeing up an east coast expansion for five years and said the Central Coast region of NSW felt right from a brand and demographic perspective.
“Driving employment in regional areas is something we’ve done extremely well in Margaret River. We’ve got over 70 employees there now and it’s something we want to replicate on the east coast.”
In a statement Beerfarm’s director Craig Thomason said the funding provides an exciting opportunity to bring the Beerfarm brand to NSW, create new jobs and provide skills opportunities for young people on the Central Coast.
“Beerfarm will create a farm style, rural space for local people and families to enjoy,” he said. “We look forward to collaborating with a diverse range of local businesses and producers in a sustainable way.
“We think of a brewery as a ‘community asset’ so we aim to build and create an exceptional venue and product range that the Central Coast will be proud of.”
Further to the direct creation of jobs, the state government said it looked favourably on Beerfarm’s funding application because their plans will have an impact on attracting other enterprises and on job creation as the Halloran project involves upgrades to town water connections, sewer mains and digital connectivity.
George said the civil works will improve the local community’s standard of living and that “it’s not just about Beerfarm. You’re only as good as the community around you”. In terms of the worst case scenario, of the Central Coast Council knocking back their application, he said “failure is just not an option” and they’d look elsewhere in the area to realise their ambitions and make use of the state government grant.
Beer & Brewer has contacted the Central Coast Council to enquire when Beerfarm’s DA will be finalised and we will provide updates should we receive a response.