Byron Bay is renowned for many things – amazing surf beaches, migrating whales, and an enviable sunny, laid-back lifestyle. Think of top-notch breweries and distilleries however, and New South Wales’ coastal gem may not immediately spring to mind – but it definitely should.
From Stone & Wood to Cape Byron Distillery, with pit stops at Byron Bay Brewery and Husk Distillery along the way, join us on the best brewery tours Byron has to offer – with a couple of delightful distilleries thrown in for good measure.
1. Stone & Wood
Born and raised in Byron Bay, Stone & Wood pride themselves on the fact that they’re 100% an independent, regional brewer. Set up in 2008 by three friends, Stone & Wood now has two breweries in the Northern Rivers, and the community-minded brewery makes a conscious choice to keep things local, simple and sustainable.
Stone & Wood’s range of handcrafted beers encompasses light, fruity numbers, hoppy ales, clean, crisp lagers, and many other irresistible thirst quenchers. You’ll definitely be spoilt for choice on a brewery tour at this Byron Bay gem.
Looking to book a brewery tour at Stone & Wood? Here’s some handy info: the tasting room at the brewery is open 10am-5pm Monday to Friday and 12pm-6pm Saturday & Sunday. There’s also a cellar door where you can buy a carton or some Stone & Wood merch (think beanies, totes and tees).
We all know it’s always a good idea to accompany beer with food right? Handily, you can order food from Stone & Wood’s canteen menu from 12pm-3pm, with a limited rotating menu and bar snacks available after 3pm.
Getting to the brewery is a breeze, especially if you catch the Byron Bay train from Byron Beach station to North Beach station (a snip at only $4.00). In a heart-warming display of true Byron Bay community spirit, the kind folk over at the Sun Bistro will happily bring you to Stone & Wood’s brewery, which is now based at 100 Centennial Circuit, Byron Bay, in their courtesy bus. They’ll also pick you up and bring you back to the Sun Bistro after your visit – how’s that for excellent service.
Stone & Wood beer is brewed and bottled in the Northern Rivers, always has been – and if the Stone & Wood crew continues to stick to their roots – it always will be.
For more information about booking a tour at Stone & Wood Brewery, click here.
2. Byron Bay Brewery
Located at the Arts Factory Village, just across from the famous Arts Factory Lodge, Byron Bay Brewery offers interesting tales, award-winning ales, and bonza beers aplenty.
Byron Bay Brewery started life as Norco Piggery in 1898. In 1983, an American music promoter and some of his friends bought the piggery. They turned it into a buzzing music venue, which hosted the likes of The Pogues, Crowed House and The Ramones. In 2008, the venue was then transformed into a brewery by a couple of Byron locals with a love of natural beer.
Now run by a South African brewing boss known as Al, Byron Bay Brewery is a hotspot in Byron Bay for unusual, great-tasting lagers, craft beers, and a few ales. There’s also tasty, hearty fare perfect for soaking up the booze. The brewery’s leafy beer garden is the perfect place to sink a few schooners – there’s plenty of shade thanks to an ancient Morton Bay fig tree, plus free live entertainment. Find out what’s on and when, here.
You can enjoy a brewery tour of Byron Bay Brewery’s onsite brewery on Tuesdays or Thursdays at 4pm (no booking required). Be sure to go for the tasting tray of five beers, not only do the beers taste great, they come served in a cool surfboard shaped tray (natch).
For directions and to book a free brewery tour at Byron Bay Brewery, click here.
3. Cape Byron Distillery
Nestled in the hinterland of Byron Bay, at the heart of the Brook family’s 96-acre farm, you’ll find Cape Byron Distillery – a family-owned, community-minded, and sustainable distillery with a difference.
Not only is Cape Byron Distillery the place to go for Byron Bay’s best botanicals in gin, Brookfarm has a rich history and an admirable ethical ethos at its core.
30 years ago Pam and Martin Brook bought a run-down dairy farm in the hinterland of Byron Bay. Since then they have regenerated and replanted over 35,000 subtropical rainforest trees, creating an oasis for native animals and birds. The Brook family also set up Byron Bay’s one and only distillery.
Exploring beautiful subtropical rainforest while stopping to sip divine gin botanicals and learning all about Brookfarm and the distilling process, is bound to be a highlight for locals and visitors alike.
Why not organise a distillery tour as a special surprise for your loved one? It’s bound to impress. We have plenty more wonderful ideas for couples looking for romance in Byron Bay.
Making whiskey is the distillery’s latest challenge, and it’s fair to say their latest foray is bound to be a roaring success. The new-make spirit is currently resting and ageing in American oak barrels, having been slowly double distilled in a 2,000-litre traditional Scottish copper pot named George (named after the distiller Eddie’s grandfather).
They say all good things come to those who wait, and returning to try the whiskey is the perfect excuse to go back to the distillery. While you wait for the whiskey to mature, be sure to go home with a bottle of the Macadamia liqueur – it’s divine.
Cape Byron Distillery’s Cellar Door is open for tours every Friday, Saturday & Sunday. Bookings are required. To book either online or over the phone.
4. Husk Distillers
Inspired by the vibrant rum culture of the Caribbean islands along with a desire to add to Australia’s market of fine spirits, distiller Paul Messenger and his family, set out on a mission to create a plantation distillery on their cattle and cane farm, nestled deep in the green caldera surrounding Mt Warning in Northern NSW.
The family’s main goal was to produce a “premium, paddock to bottle agricole rum with a unique Australian expression”. Fair to say, they hit the mark. Husk Distillers is now in its eighth year and their delicious Husk rum is drunk all over the region – and beyond.
Husk Distillers do things differently, too, using fermentation, distillation and maturation methods not typically used in commercial rum distilleries. As Husk Rum can only be made from freshly crushed cane juice it can only be made within harvest season, which is short, only running from August to November.
Husk has a cellar door and cafe, and is now open to the public for tours and tastings. A distillery tour at Husk is real treat. Not only is the rum a knockout, the rural location is stunning. Enjoy a walk-through tour of the production facility and soak up the stunning surroundings, before sipping an original Husk Rum or Ink Gin cocktail in the cellar door. Taking a bottle (or two) home is a must.
• $35/person (book online)
• Tour: 45 mins
• 45-minute drive from Elements resort
• Open Wednesday & Thursday from 11am-5pm, and Friday-Sunday 11am-6pm.
The distillery is located in the beautiful Tweed Valley. For info about booking a tour and how to get there, click here.
Whichever place you choose to visit – or perhaps you’ll try them all (why not!) – these breweries and distilleries offer so much more than delicious drinks. They offer rich history, culture, gorgeous scenery, tasty local food, and people doing great things for the community and the environment. Cheers to that.
Want more inspiration for things to do in Byron Bay? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Byron Bay.