New brewery for Launceston

Du Cane Brewing in Launceston has opened its $2.8 million brewery and dining hall.

Founded by Will Horan and Sam Reid, who also co-founded Willie Smith’s Cider and Willie Smith’s Apple Shed, the venue covers 1,500 square metres and operates as an on-site brewery featuring function spaces, a private dining room and a cellar door hub.

The business was initially founded as a homebrewing business by Horan, who supplied bushwalking huts he frequented as a guide operating along the Du Cane Range at Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.

“I spent many hours walking behind my group, daydreaming of different beers that I would make and it’s been really rewarding to develop my passion for craft beer and to finally see this project come to life,” Horan said in a media release.

“We can truly say that Northern Tasmania has one of the greatest beer trails in Australia that encompasses some really popular breweries from Ulverstone through to Penguin, Devonport, Railton, Beaconsfield and over to Scottsdale.”

One example is Island State Brewing, which opened earlier this year in Devonport.

The Du Cane space is built in the prior Tent City building on Princes Square, which was first spotted by co-founder Sam Reid.

“I was driving past one day and noticed it was vacant and thought it was the ideal location right across from the beautiful Princes Square in Launceston and then made a few calls to find out who the owner was and got in touch – that was about march 2021,” co-founder Sam Reid told Brews News.

“After a few discussions we finally settled on the building in October 2021.”

While the application process was long, it was expected and Du Cane prepared for the long haul, according to Reid.

“I made sure we engaged the council early, I started talking to them in October 2020 to get them on board and showed the planning department through a couple of other alternative locations to get their point of view.”

He also advised other breweries-in-planning to prioritise time management.

“The key point is no one likes surprises and as long as people know things are coming and you give yourself enough time then the process should go relatively smoothly.

“We also made sure we engaged far and wide from the GM [general manager] to the tourism and events teams and built support internally.”

While collaboration is key working in a team, it can also be difficult to deal with varying opinions, according to Reid.

“Trying to sift through all the differing opinions for the different areas and finding the right balance of spend vs practicality has been super hard,” Reid said.

“Everyone has their own opinion about what you should and shouldn’t do and where you should invest and where you should go cheap and it doesn’t matter.

“In the end I think we’ve got a pretty advanced brewery for the size but during the whole process we have been trying to future proof, so we have probably erred on the side of investing ahead of the curve, assuming we’ll need it one day.”

The brewery

In terms of the brewing, Will Horan currently works as head brewer with the brewhouse estimated to produce 200,000 litres per annum.

“It’s a three vessel steam fired brewhouse which Ashur Hall, head brewer from Stomping Ground ordered for us from China,” Du Cane co-founder Sam Reid said.

“We decided to go steam as I’d always heard it made a better beer and Dave McGill at Deep South also runs steam and encouraged that choice.

“It’s been a lot more challenging to put together than we had thought but we’ve worked with Anthony Clem from Wellbrewd consulting and a local ex Boags engineer Andrew Mitchell to build it.”

Learn more about Deep South Brewing and Dave Macgill in this Beer is a Conversation episode.

Du Cane Brewing launched with seven beers, including its Pale Ale and Pilsner, which were first brewed earlier this year.

“Our two originals, Pale Ale and Pilsner plus our two more recent core range beers Mid (Pale) and Stout and then three totally new to market beers, IPA, Dark Lager and a collaboration with Adams Distillery, an ex bourbon cask whisky barrel from Adams Distillery which is pretty exciting as we are collaborating with all local beverage suppliers in the region to only stock their products (and Willie Smith’s Cider of course).”

Du Cane Brewing is now open at 60/64 Elizabeth St, Launceston TAS 7250.

Brewery openings are presented bySpark Breweries and Distilleries, the finest in-venue and production brewing systems available, with local design and support.

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