Floods Hit The Breweries Of SEQ And Beyond

“It’s just surreal. It happened so fast.”


Between the "rain bomb" dropping its load up and down the coast, run-offs from higher areas, dam releases and high tides, many areas from Sunshine Coast down to northern New South Wales have been hit by by devastating flooding these past few days. There’s been loss of life, widespread destruction of property, loss of power, and road closures – and unfortunately, it's still going, particularly on the Gold Coast and in northern New South Wales.

With little warning from this ever-changing weather event, and constantly evolving predictions and advice, a number of beer businesses have found themselves among those affected. There's stress and sunken spirits. There's positivity and support from the community. There's difficult waiting now, and huge clean-up ahead.

Below are the businesses we’ve heard from. We’ll update this list as we hear more.

If you're able to support any of those close to you, whether by buying from them online or heading in once they're able to reopen, we're sure they'll appreciate every bit of help.

If you have a beer business affected by the floods, or you know of one, contact mick@craftypint.com to let us know.


Blackflag Brewing – Maroochydore

"We’ve recently been commissioning our canning line at White Lies brewing in 17 Mile Rocks for use until our site is ready. Turns out White Lies sits on flood plains.

"We drove for 11 hours through chaos to help but by the time we got close the legends had jacked EVERYTHING up. Waiting on water peaks right now. Fingers crossed."

UPDATE From White Lies' Facebook (Monday evening): "It’s looks like we have dodged a massive bullet, with the water stopping about 15cm from the roller door during the peak this morning... As it stands the end of our street is under 1.5m of water... We are not sure when we will be able to access the site again and are still cautious with river levels still high over the comings days. Unfortunately our Spine street site has lost power due to the severe flooding at the end of the street, but we hope to be able to open this Thursday as normal."

 

The entire canning line at White Lies raised onto kegs.

Currumbin Valley Brewing – Currumbin Valley

"I’ve been out all morning clearing drains, landslips and fallen trees of our driveway and the road here. We’re cut off. We still have power. My driveway is in tatters. There will be a big expense to get it so we can have access via trucks.

"I can’t give you much more. Very busy."

(On Facebook, Pete 'Smokey' Wheldon also showed his characteristic stoicism and optimism - "Nothing we haven’t seen before here. Always glad I built a brewery at home when we’re cut off from civilisation." - while also offering help to others affected by the floods.)

The roads around Currumbin Valley's farm brewery, including what Smokey Wheldon calls "Nature's boom gate".

Felons Brewing – Fortitude Valley

UPDATE - Monday afternoon: "Our Felons team are in awe of the community support we’ve received over the past few days, as well the bravery of our own team members who successfully rescued a man from the river after he became stuck under the debris - forming a human chain to reach him and pull him to safety. Stay safe out there!"


Fonzie Abbott, Albion

UPDATE (Wednesday morning): "It was very unexpected, and things happened fast. We had incredible support from the locals as well as our staff to act quick, to try and save as much of our equipment as fast as possible. Of course we lost things, but we are feeling super grateful to be a part of the Albion community. We have opened up a retail shop for beer and coffee, as well as a coffee van. The community's support has been overwhelming in the best way. They are the reason we can keep our doors open."

Though their premises were flooded inside and out, the Fonzie Abbott crew showed their resilience both on Monday (left) and Tuesday (right), setting up a pop-up store outside as soon as they had dry ground.

Helios Brewing – Yeerongpilly

"As far as we know the brewery is still dry although cut off due to blocked roads. A few of our neighbours and regulars have sent us photos this morning. We're keen to get back and see if there's any damage, make sure the beer is OK and then help out the neighbours around us to clean up."

(See photo at top of article.)


Milton Common - Milton

UPDATE (Tuesday morning): "Hoping after this morning's rise it starts to subside and we get power back.

"It's just the waiting game now."

Milton Common on Railway Terrace; the XXXX's Milton brewery in the background.

Newstead Brewing – Milton

“Right now our thoughts are with our friends and neighbours here in Brisbane who have lost so much – we’re taking this time to focus on our community and encouraging our team to help out where they can.

"We have water all through our brewery, but as it recedes we will get in, clean up, and make more beer. The rain has stopped and the sun is back out, and we’ll all be back and better than ever before you know it.”

 

Castlemaine St, Milton, where Newstead Brewing's production brewery sits. Ironically, they currently have Brewtal's Brisbane River Brown fermenting at their Doggett Street site.


UPDATE (Wednesday morning):
"There was a feeling of trepidation the second we walked in. We could see pallets of empty kegs mounded against the fermenter and that callous brown smear of the flood level at chest height across the cold room panelling. Walking into the brewery proper was a sombre moment... The flood level breached the Brewhouse bund and half the pack line. The debris of 5 full pallets of freshly printed cans was strewed everywhere. Even our barrel room wasn't spared, with an absolute cracking Bourbon Barrel aged RIS about to come out. The cellar, the lab, the kitchen, the venue, all destroyed... Cold rooms, fridges, pumps and raw materials are all compromised.

"What this experience has precipitated though, is an overwhelming sense of thankfulness for the community. We talk about it all the time, seemingly flippantly. But when the waters hit the brewery, everyone was there for us; offering support or a word of encouragement.

"Moving forward we have a renewed sense of ambition. With so much community support is impossible not to want to just get stuck in. One step at a time, we will begin the clean out." 



Parched Brewery – West End

"Our lower level is about 1.5m underwater. We had no warning. Luckily I went down early Sunday morning and de-energised all the gear down there and we should be able to recover but I’m losing beer in the FVs as the glycol motors are downstairs and off. Upstairs is all good though so back to business very soon! (We hope.)

"If you don't laugh, you'll cry. Opening in the worst month of COVID, then this. You just focus on what you can do and not stress about what you can’t."

 

The streets surrounding Parched approximately 1.5m underwater. View of Parched (left) and the view from Parched (right).


UPDATE From Facebook (Tuesday evening): "What a difference a few days and hours can make! This morning the water was still waist deep downstairs and we thought it would be another day of waiting, but within an hour it was like someone pulled the plug and the water subsided very quickly. We held our breath as we walked inside. It’s not pretty, but it’s all manageable and we made a good start this arvo. Tomorrow we have sparkies and plumbers and mini skips and a wonderful crew coming to help get her back into beer shape readiness! Hoping for a late week reopen, but we’ll keep you posted. The calls and texts and offers of support have been overwhelming and we can’t thank you enough for taking an interest in us and our little brewery! It won’t be forgotten."


Range Brewing – Newstead

"It's been pretty tough so far. We've currently got about a foot of water throughout the taproom, our warehouse and the brewery. We're lucky that the brewery itself is on a raised platform. We've had a huge effort from our amazing team to raise all our stock and raw ingredients off the floor enough that they should be safe. It's definitely hard to just sit back and wait but we're trying to stay positive.

"We will see how we go in a couple of hours time and hopefully the next few days aren't too bad.

"We've had loads of messages of support from the community which helps a lot in times like these.

"It’s pretty fucked to be honest. It’s just surreal. It happened so fast."

 

Range co-founder Matt McIver thigh-deep in floodwater and cracking a cold one. I'll avoid making a "hazy" joke.


UPDATE From Facebook (Tuesday evening):
 "We're fortunate to have been able to save our stock and materials and all the beers in our fermenters are happy and healthy... Our next move will be to undertake one hell of a cleanup to get our spaces cleaned, sanitary and ready for y'all to enjoy our beers again. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing levels of the Brisbane river, flooding is expected to continue for the next couple of days so at this point we are playing a waiting game."

"While we haven’t started the clean up for our Newstead brewery just yet, we have whipped out our #crocsandcans to cope with the situation!"

We haven’t heard directly from the following businesses, but have reports through social and traditional media: 

Two Mates Brewing – Lismore

In the rapidly changing situation in Lismore, Two Mates went from being open on Sunday to being devastated on Monday. One of the owners was even trapped in the brewery as it was surrounded by water.

From Facebook (Monday): “Grant is currently trapped in the brewery at Engine St… he can get out through a hole he’s punched through the tin…”

Thankfully, rescue services were eventually able to get there and get him and others to safety.

  

The light rain on Sunday (left) compared to the destruction in the brewery on Monday (right).

XXXX Brewing – Milton

Not normally in the purview of The Crafty Pint, but the Castlemaine Brewery in Milton certainly hasn’t been spared from the flooding either...

 


We’ll update this list as we hear more.

If you have a beer business affected by the floods, or you know of one, contact mick@craftypint.com to let us know.

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