Stone & Wood have confirmed plans for a $50m brewery expansion at their Northern Rivers home. The proposed two-year project includes a 200 hectolitre brewhouse and a visitors’ centre in Murwillumbah, where they currently produce the majority of their beers.
Co-founder Ross Jurisich (pictured above) told The Crafty Pint that with their current production brewery in Murwillumbah largely hitting capacity, they’ll struggle to meet demand while the new brewery is being built.
“We’re going to be under the pump over the next two years to produce enough beer to meet demand,” Ross says. “So, we’re going to look at a whole range of creative options that could mean contract brewing or a whole host of things.”
The announcement represents the latest significant expansion for Stone & Wood and the wider Fermentum Group of which the brewery is part. Already this year, they have added Two Birds to their growing portfolio of brands, which includes Fixation and Forest For The Trees, as well as non-beer offerings including Sunly Seltzer and the just-released Red Dragon ginger beer.
At the time of the Two Birds acquisition at the start of the year, Fermentum flagged up their intention to expand their flagship operation and said they would look into a range of funding options. That included using cash reserves, debt, a capital raise of a potential IPO, which would make them one of only a handful of breweries listed on the Australian stock exchange.
A few months on, Ross says multiple funding options remain on the table.
“We’re still working through that process; there’s a number of things available to us which remain a capital raise, banks and a possible IPO,” he says.
“What we’re doing now is just finalising things coming into the end of the financial year so we have a really good picture of the financial position we’re in. If we can deliver a red hot number at the end of this financial year, that’s the foundation on the basis on what people will lend you money on, or what you need to raise money on.”
Once the new brewery is built, it will be capable of brewing 40 million litres of beer a year; Stone & Wood are currently on track for close to 17 million litres this financial year. The expansion will see Fermentum move brewing operations from the current site, although Ross says they’ll still look to still use the existing one for beer and ingredient storage.
The new site will also be home to a visitor centre, something Murwillumbah has never had, even though Fermentum operations several elsewhere, including their Byron Bay brewery, Brisbane brewpub, Fixation’s Incubator and the Two Birds Nest.
While they do occasionally open Murwillumbah to the community and customers, Ross says they're excited to have a better opportunity to bring people inside.
“It allows us to do more community-based events which we’re a bit hamstrung with at the moment,” he says.
“There’s a great food and beverage trail that’s growing in the Northern Rivers, particularly the Tweed, and we hope to add to that.”
Today's Media Release
Independent brewers Stone & Wood have revealed plans for their $50 million Northern Rivers Brewery in Murwillumbah to federal and local government members.
The 34,000 square metre site that overlooks the mighty Wollumbin (Mt Warning), will eventually play home to a 200 hectolitre fully automated brewhouse that includes a visitor’s centre for locals and tourists to the region.
In attendance for the presentation was the Federal Member for Richmond, Justine Elliot MP, Tweed Shire Mayor, Chris Cherry, Deputy Mayor Tweed Shire, Councillor Reece Byrnes and General Manager for the Tweed Shire Council, Mr. Troy Green.
The construction of the brewery is scheduled to take approximately two years and create new jobs for local construction and engineering teams as well as continue to provide roles for the Stone & Wood family that live and work in the Northern Rivers.
On the new brewery, Co-Founder Ross Jurisich said: “Today was a landmark day in the life of Stone & Wood as we announced plans to commence building the proposed $50m Stone & Wood Brewing Co’s Northern Rivers Brewery in Murwillumbah.
We are excited by the prospect of unlocking brewing capacity that will continue to provide jobs in the Northern Rivers through the expansion of domestic distribution while expanding on our export aspirations.”
Alongside its increased fermentation capacity and warehousing space, the new brewery will also include a hi-tech waste-water treatment plant as part of Stone & Wood’s continued commitment for better environmental outcomes.
Photo at top features Tweed Shire Council general manager Troy Green, Ross Jurisich, and Justine Elliott MP.