Matthew Drane and Rick Prosser at the Waterview distillery. Photo: Rene Eloise
Matthew Drane and Rick Prosser at the Waterview distillery. Photo: Rene Eloise Rene Eloise

Distillery gets licence

BUNDABERG'S newest distilling company has been issued a licence by the State Government to start rolling out its product.

Waterview Bundaberg founder, businessman Matthew Drane, said this was the first distillery licence issued in Bundaberg in more than a decade.

"Obviously we're not wasting any time and although we have made products ready to go to market, the ability to manufacture rum in Bundaberg relied on the approval of the attached excise licence," he said.

Mr Drane said the Waterview Distillery Experience/Visitor centre was finished in March and a private preview was held for owners of the release product.

"With the granting of the licence the decision has been made to pause the official opening until September as we wish to focus on production processes with the licences taking longer than expected," he said.

The company was also carrying out a stage 2 upgrade Waterview would install more vat and barrel storage as well as bottling and canning facilities.

"Although it has been 18 months since the applications were filed no moment was spent standing still," Mr Drane said.

"Over the last few months Waterview has also secured domestic distribution agreements as well as licensed some of its developed products into international markets including Asia and the US as well as for use in edible products."

Mr Drane said sales forecasts showed Waterview expecting to be marketing more than two million litres of distilled spirits within the next 24 months.

"This volume will include vodka, bourbon, rum, gin and some new segment products made from local and organic produce," he said.

Mr Drane said the storage onsite was being increased to hold about 150 tonnes of molasses.

"We are not out to make the most rum and plan to work to the seasons on our rum products," he said.

"If the harvest is over and there is no more molasses we'll wait for the next year."

Mr Drane said the company had a firm commitment to making a Bundaberg-styled rum, and that included using only molasses sourced from Bundaberg Sugar mills and being aged in a vat not a barrel like most spirits.

"This does not mean we won't be using barrels for other products in our rum range," he said.

"We are hoping to go past building on this tradition to having it mandated by government to protect our region's investment in growing cane."

Mr Drane said Waterview proved it did not have to be big to make great products and also attract tourism to the Bundaberg area.



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