Sailors Grave Brewing is planning to relocate and expand the business to a greenfield site, strategically located on the Cape Conran coastal touring route. The new site is adjacent to the proposed Marlo to Conran shared pathway and upgraded services link.
“We are business owners and residents of this area with family history going back many generations,” co-owner Chris Moore said.
“We see local economic growth, innovation and resilience as key elements of our own business resilience and we also want to live in a prosperous and vital community.
“We are raising our kids here and we want them to stay,“ Mr Moore said.
The project has been supported by a $2.35 million grant under the Victorian and Federal Governments’ Local Economic Recovery (LER) program, supporting bushfire-affected areas of Victoria.
The site will be a tourism and hospitality hub where sustainability, connection to community and place is at the core of everything they do.
Home to a ‘Farmhouse style’ brewery destination set to attract domestic and international visitors, the hub will incorporate circular economy elements like biomass waste reuse, water treatment, heat capture and reuse, with the potential for a local energy microgrid to feed back into local supply.
With new equipment, infrastructure, technology and process innovation, the increased capacity brewing plant will boost export potential for the unique Sailors Grave beer range and increase local employment.
Established in 2017 in the historic old butter factory in Orbost, the exponential growth of Sailors Grave Brewing has seen a small family-driven team build their brand into niche markets across Australia and into Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand and recently into the UK market.
But one of the key objectives is to put the Far East Gippsland townships of Orbost, Marlo and Cape Conran on the map as ‘must do’ beer and food tourist destination.
“We take our role as champions and advocates for our region very seriously, and continually use our profile, craft, and networks to promote and create positive change,” co-owner Gab Moore said.
“While the last year has been incredibly challenging at times, with bushfires coming within four kilometres of both our home and brewery, the closure of the timber industry, prolonged drought (thankfully now broken) and COVID of course which has affected everyone.
“These events have only made us more determined to be agents of change for our region, we are committed to change the lexicon from being the end of the line to being the centre.
“We are uniquely positioned half way between Melbourne and Sydney in a pristine wilderness environment.
“We feel has so much to offer. We were the 2020 winners of Food & Fibre Gippsland’s Excellence in Collaborative Partnerships Award, and I was personally awarded the inaugural Female Agribusiness leader of the Year, which was a huge honour.
“We were also very grateful to be featured in the Visit Victoria Click for Vic campaign and also Stay Close Go Further campaign – it certainly shone a spotlight on Far East Gippsland and has boosted general interest in the region.”
It will be a welcoming and interesting place that has an everyday appeal to people of all ages, combined with a seasonal calendar of events to drive visitor numbers and stimulate the local economy all year round.
There is a long-term vision and plan for this new precinct, with stage two plans to include the establishment of a social enterprise craft malting facility where locally grown grain will be processed to service the Victorian brewing and food sector demands, along with a corn whisky distillery and a number of other agribusiness economic development opportunities to support a transition to regenerative farming practices.
With a reputation for quality, innovation and collaboration, their strength and uniqueness centres around telling the stories of the people, places, and ingredients of Gippsland.
Husband and wife team Chris and Gab Moore are quietly proud of what has been achieved so far, and are passionate about what is possible when industry, community, government, and research work together on common goals.
The planning process is in its early stages, with the Sailors Grave Brewing team looking forward to engaging with the local community as the project progresses.
“While we have personal ethical and community aspirations, it would short sighted to see all the work we have put into this as purely altruistic - we strongly believe the mutual benefits of helping our community and growing our business as necessarily interdependent - this is the power of small business that is rooted to place.”
“We use the platform of beer collaboration to highlight the unique characters and environment to both national and international markets.
“We work with other businesses and government bodies on a range of ongoing projects – tourism; economic development and diversification in our region; resilience building planning for our business and community as an interconnected whole,” Mr Moore said.
IMAGE: Sailors Grave’s Chris and Gab Moore plan to create a tourism and hospitality hub with sustainability and connection to community and place at the core. (PS)