Barrier Reef Brewing opens second Cairns venue in five-star hotel

Tap an Turtle Barrier Reef Brewing

Cairns-based Barrier Reef Brewing has launched its second taproom in the town, this time in a five-star hotel venue.

Continuing with the theme of breweries moving into atypical venues, Barrier Reef is setting up its Tap & Turtle bar in the five-star Cairns Pullman International Hotel.

The 50-capacity bar has been funded by the ongoing brewery business and developed with support from the hotel staff and management, Barrier Reef Brewing founder and brewer Cameron McPherson said.

“We have a taproom at the brewery in Stratford, but the opportunity to open a second venue in the city came off the back of a conversation with Nick, the food and beverage manager of the hotel.

“They had a space, we needed a space and it worked out well! We have been selling packaged beer to the Cairns Pullman for a number of years, so it seemed like a natural progression.

“The hotel has been great but we are aware that we needed to fit in with their aesthetic, and luckily our design and theirs seem to meld nicely. The chefs have also designed a menu just for us, which is fantastic.”

Cairns native McPherson was formerly a vet in small animal emergency and marine animal rescue in Scotland. He and his wife Caroline met over in the UK and decided to return to Australia in 2013. He’d dabbled in brewing and volunteered at local Scottish breweries, so opening his own was a natural step forward.

In 2015, those dreams were realised with the help of father Alan. The microbrewery in the Stratford suburb of Cairns has a taproom, and the latest venture in the Cairns CBD will look to cater for an array of demographics.

“We aim to cater to both tourists and locals – the latter being important to me as I grew up in Cairns.

“When we first opened not that many people were in to craft beer. In the 4 years we have been in operation, local people have definitely been more embracing of craft beer, which is great to see.

“There will always be the demographic of ‘Great Northern’ drinkers who we are unlikely to get through to, but generally people are definitely willing to try something different.

“For us, our best seller is our pale ale. Darker, heavier beers are a bit trickier to sell due to the climate, but our Coconut Porter and Coffee amber have proven to be popular with both regulars and visitors alike, which is very pleasing to me as a brewer!”

Barrier Reef’s main brewing operations at its Stratford site consist of a 10hL brewhouse with 8,000 litres of fermentation capacity, but McPherson said there are plans to expand if they need the extra capacity.

The Tap & Turtle at the Cairns Pullman International Hotel was launched on 20th September.

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