21 August 2023

'It's your shout': Tumut River Brewing Co puts out an SOS to keep the doors open

| Chris Roe
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Tumut River Brewing Co owner Tim Martin

Tumut River Brewing Co owner Tim Martin is asking supporters to shout them a beer to keep the doors open. Photo: Supplied.

It’s been a rough few years for the Tumut River Brewing Co (TRBC) and the owners are sending out an SOS to supporters to keep the popular microbrewery alive.

Despite a well respected brand and award-winning product, fires, floods, COVID-19 and 18 months of roadworks have brought them to their knees.

“It’s such a strange feeling to feel so successful and like such a failure at the same time,” said founder Tim Martin with a weary laugh.

“If you look at the brand we’ve built and the venue we’ve built and the team, it’s something to be immensely proud of.

“We have an amazing community around our brand and I feel we’ve brought so much to the region and participated in events and festivals and charities, but then on the flip side, financially, we’re in ruins!”

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Founded as a tourism initiative in 2013, “the southern hemisphere’s smallest microbrewery” has steadily grown in size and reputation and Tim said they really hit their stride after the Black Summer bushfires and in the lull between successive waves of COVID-19.

“We felt we really found our place in that gap year in between the two COVID-19 waves and our business finally worked and we were really getting there.”

Tumut River Tap Days

TRBC at a Tumut River Tap Days festival. Photo: Grant Hardwick.

The final straw was the drawn-out construction of a roundabout at the notorious Snowy Mountains Highway and Gocup Road intersection right out the front of their venue.

“The main road that gave access to the brewery was actually closed completely and we lost anything from 15 to 30 thousand dollars a week over the bar as far as the downturn in trade goes,” Tim said.

“While we fully support the roundabout project, we’ve sustained losses of over a million dollars.”

The soon-to-be-opened roundabout outside the Tumut River Brewing C

The soon-to-be-opened roundabout outside the Tumut River Brewing Co. Photo: Supplied.

The project was due to be completed late last year but was delayed by wet weather and floods and complicated detours saw the Tumut River Brewing Co’s clientele dwindle.

Independent Member for Wagga, Dr Joe McGirr MP acknowledged the brewery’s tourism value to the Snowy Valleys and is pushing for NSW Government support.

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“I have written to Minister Aitchison asking that the Tumut River Brewing Co be financially compensated so that their doors stay open,” he said.

“If it was good enough for impacted business along the construction path of the Sydney CBD and South East Light Rail then why not for the TRBC?”

Tim explained the business had reached a tipping point and rather than ask the bank for more money, he was calling on supporters to help them get back on their feet.

“I know that if my business goes back to normal, it will be profitable, but not if I took any more debt,” he explained.

“We know that things will pick up in October and from a wholesale perspective, we are shipping twice as much beer as we did last year.”

The Tumut River Brewing Co has now launched a crowdfunding campaign offering exclusive merchandise and even the opportunity to name your own beer.

“We’ve got everything from a $1 donation if you choose to just chip in, or if you just want to throw us five bucks to shout us a beer, all the way through to a $10,000 option,” said Tim.

“It’s our hour of need and we really hope people will get around us.”

You can learn more and participate here.

Original Article published by Chris Roe on Region Riverina.

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I sincerely hope that TRBC make it through this. I always stop there for lunch when I’m in Tumut – the food is yummy and the staff are friendly and helpful. And when I’m there for the weekend, I’ll have a beer or two from their large choice on tap.

So why go there? It’s a beautiful locaton to drive to from Canberra for the weekend (and to check out the Blowering Dam), and if you drive a hybrid or EV, they have two Type 2 destination chargers at TRBC to top you up for the trip back. Do yourself a favour and try the loop via Gundagai to Tumut, then back to Canberra via Cooma.

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