In Food + Drink

Explore Byron’s New Brewery and Distillery Trail

A haven of sunshine, sand, surf and celebrity, Byron Bay requires little introduction. Yet, beyond its beaches, bars and opportunities to spot a Hemsworth in their natural habitat, there’s a new and surprising drawcard bubbling away under the radar.

Over the last couple of years, Byron and surrounds have emerged as a mecca for brewers and distillers, with no less than eight setting up in the surrounding areas. While not all have cellar doors, the vast majority do – and they’re waiting to quench your thirst.

And of course, before we begin, it’s important to note that beyond the breweries and distilleries, you can’t go wrong with a visit to one of the shire’s iconic pubs. The Beach Hotel directly opposite Main Beach, the classic Bruns Pub in nearby Brunswick Heads, and the laid-back Great Northern are all also worthy of a visit.

Byron Bay Brewery

Image: Byron Bay Brewery / supplied

The brewery that started it all. Occupying the old Arts Factory on Skinners Shoot Road, a few minutes from the town centre, Byron Bay Brewery is a great spot to enjoy an eclectic range of craft beers on tap, and delve into the story behind the brews with a guided tour.

Though the brewery was only established in 2008, the venue itself actually goes back more than 35 years as an iconic live music and local dining haunt. That spirit continues with the recent re-launch of the Brew House Theatre, formerly known as Pighouse Flicks, which is designed as an intimate space for live gigs, stand-up comedy and arthouse films.

1 Skinners Shoot Rd, Byron Bay

Stone & Wood Brewery

Image: Stone & Wood Brewery / Chris Ashton

From humble origins, Stone & Wood Brewery has grown to become one of the region’s huge success stories. Known for their quality brews such as Cloud Catcher and Pacific Ale, the independent brewer has a dedicated tasting room just off the main road into Byron.

Visitors can enjoy tasting paddles of their core beer range, along with seasonal releases, pilot batches, and their limited-release Counter Culture range. The onsite Canteen also dishes up a limited rotating menu and snacks if you want to make an afternoon of it.

100 Centennial Cct, Byron Bay NSW 

Cape Byron Distillery

Cape Byron Distillery has experienced a meteoric rise in the last few years. Launched after a successful crowd-funding campaign in 2016, co-founder Eddie Brook has made his mark on the Australian gin scene with the delicious, rainforest botanical-infused Brookie’s Dry Gin.

Located in the hills just behind Byron Bay, their distillery has expanded its offering to include Byron Slow Gin, a local take on an English ‘sloe’ gin made using Davidson Plum, and Mac. by Brookie’s, a macadamia liqueur. There’s also a single malt whisky also on the way too.

Distillery tours are available every Friday, Saturday and Sunday via their website.

80 St Helena Rd, McLeods Shoot

The Bucha Shed

A fermented tea said to have numerous health benefits, kombucha is so hot right now. As you can imagine, Byron Bay locals are big fans of the drink, so much so they even have their own brand of kombucha. The Bucha Shed is the home of The Bucha of Byron, as well as their brand-new offering The Dirty Bucha – Australia’s first alcoholic kombucha.

Try three non-alcoholic kombuchas on tap, Original, Tropical and Lemon Myrtle, or sample the two alcoholic varieties featuring vodka and gin. While the alcoholic versions don’t have quite the same health benefits, they’re still a better option than most pre-mixed drinks.

4 Boronia Pl, Byron Bay

Lord Byron Distillery

Zero waste and carbon neutral, Lord Byron Distillery is an environmentally-minded producer of high-quality cane vodka, rum, limoncello and gin. Their family-owned distillery and tasting room in Byron’s Arts & Industry Estate welcomes walk-in visitors, with a free tour offering a fascinating glimpse into how each of their (seriously good) spirits are made.

If you want to get a little more hands-on during your visit, they also offer a 2.5-hour custom gin making masterclass, as well as a cocktail making class with an award-winning bartender. Like your gin with a burst of citrus? Want it to taste like rose tea? It’s entirely up to you.

Unit 7, 4 Banksia Dr, Byron Bay

Seven Mile Brewing Co.

byron brewery

Image: Seven Mile Brewing Co. Chris Ashton

Behind every great beer is a passionate brewer, someone who can take the basic elements of water, hops, grain and yeast and transform them into liquid gold. At Seven Mile Brewing Co. in Ballina, across from the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport, that brewer is Matt Wilson.

Together with his father Lou, Wilson launched Seven Mile in 2017 and has crafted a range of four core beers, including an award-winning West Coast IPA, complemented by seasonal releases. Visitors to their brewery can buy individual beers or a tasting flight of four beers, as well as a guided tour by prior request (minimum four people required).

202 Southern Cross Dr, Ballina

(Lead image: Cape Byron Distillery / supplied)

Published 22 January, 2020