Lost Palms to open Brisbane taproom

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The Gold Coast’s Lost Palms Brewing Co. is the latest to join the ranks of multi-venue breweries like Range, Ballistic and BrewDog.

Three-year-old Lost Palms is opening up in Sherwood, one of Brisbane’s southern suburbs, making it the Gold Coast brewery’s second location in addition to its existing Miami site.

The site on Sherwood Road is due to open in October, with a selection of 11 taps of Lost Palms beer.It will have a full kitchen with a menu resembling that of Lost Palms’ pastel-coloured Gold Coast homebase serving burgers and bar snacks, with an internal bar and dining space and covered outdoor seating area.

Zak Nalder, sales and marketing manager at Lost Palms, said that planning and building a new venue during COVID-19 wasn’t an easy process.

“The major planning issue was the C-Bomb (COVID); we had everything ready for a March or April launch earlier this year but everything went on hold until the skies were a little clearer,” he explained.

“I’ve personally done five venue openings in my time and nothing ever goes to plan, although with COVID-19 causing this particular delay, there was good reason for the setback, unlike others I’ve done!”

COVID restrictions have meant that there were some changes to original plans. While the venue will have an 80-person capacity it will only be able to hold a “modest” 30 due to venue capacity restrictions.

“The council hurdles were easy to jump as there was an existing liquor license for the space, all that’s left is to complete the food licence for the green tick.”

“We are patiently awaiting the Craft Beer Licence to help with a few things like providing beers as take away from the venue, through the use of a remote cellar door, similar to that of a winery,” Nalder explained.

In the meantime, they are preparing for the imminent opening of Sherwood.

“We are but a few weeks away from the grand opening,” Nalder said.

“The tap system is going in this week, the new bar next week, the signage is up, just a lick of paint, some tables and chairs and we’ll be ready to fire up all of the equipment.”

Heading to the ‘burbs

Sherwood is around 20 minutes west of Brisbane’s CBD, and Lost Palms’ founder Jarrod Blanning, who started brewing and opened the doors to the Miami brewpub in 2017, has links to the area.

But Nalder explained they also thought that Sherwood would prove an ideal location to grow the Lost Palms brand.

“We picked Sherwood for the community vibes and as an up-and-coming precinct without an over-saturation of hospitality venues,” he said.

“We believe Lost Palms will be a good fit for Sherwood due to its location, relevance to the city and the lack of craft-centric hospitality offerings in the area, leaving a hole in the market we believe we can fill.”

Lost Palms is the latest to set up a taproom venue, in some ways easier than setting up another brewpub due to licensing difficulties.

But turning the new taproom into a brewery as well isn’t entirely off the cards.

“We might be able to get a small kit into the space in the near future, but we still have to jump that hurdle,” Nalder said.

The move to Brisbane is a major shift for the business, which has focused a lot of its brand identity around its home base of Miami. But this strong brand will prove to be an advantage in its new second home.

“The new venue will be an extension of the Miami taproom, we want a space to engage with the locals of Brisbane, where they can come and connect directly with the brand and beers; although it will be a craft centric venue, the ethos is to appeal to the direct locals who live very close by as a go-to place for great food and great drinks.”

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Second venues

Nalder explained that the Sherwood venue is part of Lost Palms’ ongoing hospitality strategy.

“We want to have a hospitality-focused arm of the business where we can control all of the variables internally and provide a fully immersive experience.

“It’s no lie, hospitality venues are hard to run and super demanding, but we have started to structure the business to have more of a hospitality focus in addition to our wholesale activities.

“There are a lot of great breweries making great beer, and there will be a limit to the number of venues that will be at liberty to support indie and small producers.”

He said that there are multiple benefits to having your own venue as a brewery.

“We want to provide a direct touchpoint for our brand that the consumer can feel and see, not just taste.

“In our ideal world, being in taprooms talking with a bar team who know the intricacies of that particular beer inside and out, the consumer will be susceptible to trying something new.

“We want the lager drinker to be happy with good quality small-batch beer, so much so that they are inclined to try something new, hence growing the craft beer pie,” he explained.

As part of this hospitality focus, former Black Hops staffer Ali Cat is joining Lost Palms to spearhead the launch of its “hospitality heroes” team.

“We can offer education and training in other areas that the typical hospitality businesses don’t have under their wing, such as sales, marketing, production etc,” she said.

“We have recruited some key hospitality minded people to start, including myself, with 10 years of hospitality experience – six of which were in management throughout small and large businesses.

“We have a very experienced manager at Sherwood, with experience in venues throughout Sydney and Brisbane and more recently we hired a new manager for the Miami Taproom, who actually won the Beeries Beertender of the year award, last year.”

Following in the footsteps

Another brewery which has seen both sides of the coin, launching both a new brewpub in Springfield in addition to its Salisbury HQ and a taproom in Brisbane’s West End is Ballistic Beer.

Wade Curtis, Ballistic’s head of marketing, agreed with Zak’s thinking behind opening a second venue of any format.

“There are a couple of different reasons why breweries want other venues. For Ballistic, it’s the fact that we want to have venues where we can control the experience and where we can showcase the beers in the way we want to.

“The second reason is that when we pick locations, we go into communities where we can add to the community because that is one of our key focuses is creating a beer community.”

Curtis said he thinks there will be many more breweries with multiple venues in future, even after the COVID-19 experience proved that there is not necessarily certainty in the hospitality industry either.

“It’s certainly something we’re looking at doing more of, and the way we look at it it’s replacing the traditional pub as somewhere people go to meet. There are still plenty of pubs around and still demand to meet – we’ve not reached a saturation point especially when you get into suburbs and regional areas.”

Lost Palms’ new taproom will be opening at 1/671 Sherwood Rd in October.

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