For the first time in over a century outback, Queensland has its own beer.
An initiative of regional economic development body (RAPAD), Winton, Longreach and Barcaldine Lager has been produced and is now available in pubs and clubs across western Queensland.
“Beer is synonymous to western Queensland, a lot of the times we’re in 40-degree heat so what better way to finish an afternoon than to come home and have a cold beer. And now, what could be better than to have a Winton lager beer,” Winton Deputy Mayor Tina Elliott said.
The trial product run is the first step in a long-term plan to establish a regional brewery in the outback to reintroduce brewing, manufacturing and create new tourism products.
Lead project coordinator for the Central Western Queensland Brewing Co., Paul Misipeka, explains the initial drop is to test the market's appetite for a local brew.
“This brewery initiative is going to be about making beer in the community, making beer that is owned by the community and making beer that is going to showcase the community to visitors that come into this region,” Paul Misipeka said.
State Government figures show 25 per cent of craft breweries are in regional Queensland the vast majority in coastal locations, with the nearest to outback Queensland in Townsville and Rockhampton, both 700kms from Longreach.
While locals will own and operate the brewery, with approximately 200 thousand tourists visiting the region during COVID19 affected 2020, tourists will be a key market.
“We need to keep capturing what they want, and their expectations, they've got higher expectations and we need to be meeting them,” Councillor Elliott said.
Each beer comes in a town specific collectable can that tells a local story. Winton’s pays tribute to the Mar family and features Willie Mar senior who in 1923 established the longest-running market garden and shop in the region. Willie Mar junior was western Queensland’s last Chinese market gardener.
The Remote Area Planning and Development Board (RAPAD) area covers a total area of 396 609 km² - or almost quarter (22.9 per cent) of the land area of Queensland. RAPAD councils are Barcaldine Regional Council, Barcoo Shire Council, Blackall-Tambo Regional Council, Boulia Shire Council, Diamantina Shire Council, Longreach Regional Council and Winton Shire Council.