BLUE BROTHERS PART WITH KIAMA INN

In Property by Clyde Mooney

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The Blue brothers have parted with their long-held Kiama Inn Hotel in the jewel of the Illawarra.

The large-format Kiama Inn opened in 1888 as Tory’s Hotel, named after local colonial publican George Tory.

Still sporting the embossed name on the façade and known in some circles as Tory’s Kiama, the business has been owned and operated for the past 22 years by brothers Jeremy and Simon Blue, under the Kiama Inn Hotel moniker.

After more than two decades living their belief in being hands-on publicans, the brothers are looking forward to a long overdue vacation and some family time.

“No plans for the moment,” replied Jeremy. “We just want to sit back and have a bit of a break; wait for summer, lie down at the beach for a while and enjoy the town we live in.

“We’ll probably stay in the industry, but the best way to have a break in the pub business is just step back for a while and rethink, then go again.”

Located on the main drag of Kiama, a stone’s throw from the beach, the three-storey pub counts a single-operation main bar, bistro, outdoor terrace and gaming room with 14 EGMs not in a smoking area. The second level houses the kitchen and storerooms, and another licensed area. The third level holds unused accommodation rooms, with amenities.

The pub also includes a cellar and big drive-through bottleshop, which does over a third of the $90k weekly revenue in FY17.

A comfortable two hours’ drive from Sydney, the town has been growing steadily, showing 10 per cent population increase at the last Census.

While the bottleshop and bar trade have been historically strong, the operation stands to benefit from greater capitalisation on opportunities in the resort town.

“The obvious upside in the business revolves around the ability to increase gaming trade by implementing a smoking solution,” says Knight Frank’s Kate MacDonald, who brokered the deal in conjunction with colleague Mike Wheatley.

“There are also eight accommodation rooms currently not in use, in a town where lodging can be limited.”

The Blues remain locals and have strong links with Kiama, having always incorporated a very strong community focus at the pub.

Sale price on the off-market transaction was not disclosed, and the new owners – a partnership of three newcomers to the pub game – asked not to be named at this stage.

“Due to the longevity of their tenancy, it was obviously an emotional decision to move on,” explained MacDonald.

“The boys leave behind a passionate and loyal patronage who will serve the incoming operators well, thanks to their incredible dedication and hard work over 22 years.”