Big things are brewing for Waterview Distillery
IF THERE wasn't already enough growth to look forward to in Bundaberg this year, a local distillery is stepping into the limelight with major plans and the hopes of bringing 100 jobs to the region in coming months.
Matthew Drane, 43, calls himself the re-founder of Waterview Distillery, unearthing the distilling brand six years ago, which was originally coined by Samuel Johnston in 1868.
As well as juggling an office in Melbourne and a bourbon distillery in the United States, Mr Drane said he had been paving the way for multiple expansions in the Rum City, with the prospect of a re-established distillery, a tourist attraction, and the potential introduction of up to 100 local jobs.
"We will support over 100 jobs in Bundaberg through our introduction," he said.
"We're not just talking about how many people will do what for other companies, it's direct people where we will be contributing to their pay packet," Mr Drane said.
He said he had remained relatively quiet over the past two years, with the exception of a few stories from time to time, while playing a real-life game of Monopoly in preparation to hit the ground running with the business this year.
"We view that our responsibility is to create jobs for the region for the future, not just give people a pay packet for today."
Although he's only given the NewsMail a taste of the plans to come, Mr Drane promises that this will be an exciting year for Waterview Distillery and the Bundaberg community, including a soft drink division for their ready-to-drink premixed range.
Bundaberg residents have presently relied on pop-up and stores to get their hands on a bottle of the distillery's 4670 rum, but big plans in the pipeline will make Bundaberg the export hub for the company and will make the international award-winning drink more accessible to locals.
Mr Drane is confident the brand will take out international alcohol awards again this year, after bringing home multiple wins at the World Drinks Awards including Best Agricole Rum last year.
He said the distillery was one of the first in Bundaberg's modern history to produce agricole rum, which was made through a method that relied on sugar cane juice rather than molasses, and plans to set up a new location a stone's throw from regular ingredient supplier Bundaberg Sugar to reduce production costs and minimise waste.