Chris Kirby-Ryan reports
The dream began six months ago, when a group of investors got together to bring the Saleyards pub back to life.
The Saleyards Hotel is located on the Bruce Hwy in Allenstown, three kilometres from the Rockhampton CBD.
“The fact that there was room for a distillery was a real incentive for us,” said Warren Brewer.
“I have always had a dream about brewing the perfect rum and my fellow investors are passionate about brewing too.”
The group plans to distil a gin, whiskey and the special Capricorn Rum with a spicy south-east Asian influence. The hope is to open around May/June of this year, so distillation of the rum has already started, with the Sick Note Whiskey and Billy Goat Gin soon to follow.
Replacing the current pokies area will also be a funky café, which they plan to open mid-to-late March. Andy Leonard, another investor in the Saleyards group, commented that the investment in the distilling equipment and materials for the renovation has been substantial, but the biggest cost has really been in the thousands of hours put in by the partners.
In the longer term, there are plans to take the rum, gin and whiskey nationally, starting with small, boutique bottle shops and expanding steadily from there – and with names like Capricorn Rum, Sick Note Whiskey and Billy Goat Gin, they’re bound to stir up some curiosity.
Local support for the enterprise has been more than encouraging with over 1500 Likes on Facebook and more than $8,000 raised in crowd funding.
Right now, Queensland is loving distilleries and breweries. Add to this the prominent location and unusual design, the re-birth of the old Saleyards pub is bound to create plenty of interest.
With so much passing tourist traffic and the interest the team plans to generate, Brewer believes the new venture will go gang-busters.