King Tide Brewing opens in Coffs Harbour
The brewery was founded by Lucyna and and Josh King, who will also be the brewpub’s head brewer.
King initially studied chemical engineering and briefly worked at Tooheys brewery in Lidcombe as a student engineer before moving into finance and management consulting. He continued this hobby and eventually became a Beer Judge Certification Program judge and Certified Cicerone.
“I recall the day the dream for King Tide came about, over 10 years ago, working in Sydney and gazing out the window of a high-rise on George Street, I realised that I was in the wrong place and that my dream was to open a brewpub in my home town in Coffs,” explained Josh King.
The idea for opening a brewpub in Coffs was an exciting prospect in theory but the execution would prove to be difficult, especially when it came to finding the right venue, as King explained.
“I wanted a CBD location for our brewpub, so that we could be in the heart of the community, but I also wanted something big enough so that we could host some large events, have a bustling restaurant and bar, a big beer garden and a brewery capable of making enough beer for some off-site sales.
“I recall walking past the site we now call home years ago. It was a large mechanics garage in the heart of the CBD. I said to myself, ‘if that space ever comes vacant, I’m building our brewery there.’ Some years later, in early 2019 when I heard the garage was relocating, I booked a meeting with the owner that day. The rest is history, as they say.”
When it came to the development process, the King Tide team found some issues with the introduction of new changes which left artisan food and drink industry businesses considered as part of the ‘light industrial’ category, an issue Bucketty’s faced when setting up in rural NSW.
“It was long. About 9 months. Lots of back and forward. It was a difficult application process.
“Council looked at the definition and said that an artisan industry was not allowed in a business zone and could only be in an industrial zone. We had to prove that we were not an artisan industry to be allowed to set up in the CBD,” King explained.
While the team planned to open by the end of 2020, the pandemic pushed their plans back leaving them to start construction in March 2021. The journey was long to get to opening, and shouldn’t be underestimated, according to King.
“No individual part of the process is insurmountable, but when you put them all together, particularly when it is your first project like this, it seems like you’re trying to scale Everest.
“It’s taken thousands of small steps, countless late nights and a lot of tenacity to get King Tide open.”
The King Tide venue is a brewpub licensed for over 400 patrons, but is set up to cater for 250 guests and as King explained, the venue combines multiple styles together.
“Our venue brings together Lucyna’s Polish heritage and blends it with my hometown culture in Coffs. The styling is old world European, which matches in well with the food and beers we are brewing.
“However, many of the original fittings, and equipment from the old car garage have been left untouched, which gives a great sense of place in the history of Coffs Harbour,” he explained.
The venue also includes a beer garden, two bars, kitchen, multiple seating areas and a function space. For the beers, King currently works as the head brewer and brews on a 10hL 3 vessel steam heated system from Brewtique.
“The value for money was terrific. The gear is really well designed and put together and the team at Brewtique were so helpful throughout the process.”
Prior to opening the brewpub, King Tide was already brewing its beers and selling them to local restaurants and bottleshops. This experience allowed the team to experiment, having now brewed 30 beers.
“We have seen it as an opportunity to have a conversation with the local community to see what kind of beers that they really enjoy when out at their local brewpub.
“I love the stylistic freedom that comes with a brewpub in being able to brew lots of different styles that may not have mass market appeal at the bottleshop,” King said.
While the freedom is there to experiment, the fan favourites are still proving to be popular.
“At the end of the day, the brews that have been the most popular and have had the locals coming back for more have been our Pilsner, DDH IPA, Tropical Pale and XPA. As we settle into our rhythm, there is no doubt that these will find a more permanent slot on our tap list.”
While King Tide’s primary focus is on the local market, the brewery has the potential to expand its distribution model.
“We have sized the brewery to be able to do some distribution too. We have capacity to expand the size of the cellar as we grow our distribution [but] the business model is to focus on the local market first,” King said.
Since opening in November, King Tide has seen positive reception from the local community, and looks forward to continuing the relationship, as King explained.
“We opened on 17 November. The reception was amazing and it was so great to see the support from the locals. It really felt like we hosted every Christmas party in Coffs over December.
“We are super excited and optimistic about the coming year, as we keep growing our relationship with the local community.”
King Tide Brewing is open Wednesday to Sunday at 1 Studio Ln, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450.
Brewery openings are presented by Spark Breweries and Distilleries, the finest in-venue and production brewing systems available, with local design and support.