Small breweries, distilleries, craft beer & cider in NSW

Regional New South Wales has a progressive brewing and distilling scene. Pop in for a cold one, go behind the scenes on a tour, meet the makers or attend a festival… there’s something for everyone.  

Barley before it enters the brewing process at Foghorn Brewery, Newcastle

Foghorn Brewery, Newcastle

Those who appreciate good beer love Stone and Wood in Byron Bay, where the drinks are cold and the tours and tastings (try the limited-releases) are insightful. Other small-batch breweries on the North Coast include Sanctus Brewing just outside of Yamba, Murray’s Brewing Company in Port Stephens, Black Duck Brewery in Port Macquarie and Foghorn Brewery, in an art deco warehouse in Newcastle

Try small-batch ales on the Central Coast at the Block ‘n Tackle in Kincumber; enjoy preservative-free, unpasteurised craft ales at Six String Brewing Coin Erina; and bring the kids and dogs to Bay Road Brewing in Gosford.  

Couples enjoying food and drink at IronBark Hill Brewhouse, Pokolbin

IronBark Hill Brewhouse, Pokolbin - Credit: Time Out

On the South Coast, linger over a wine tasting at Cupitt’s Estate followed by a beer made with local hops at Cupitt’s Craft Beer Microbrewery between Milton and Ulladulla. If you like beers with a side of bracing mountain air, head for Kosciuszko Brewing Company, Dalgety Brewing Company and Tumut River Brewing Co.  

Women ready for drink tasting at the Wildbrumby Schnapps Distillery Door and Cafe in Jindabyne, Snowy Mountains

Wildbrumby Schnapps Distillery Door and Cafe, Jindabyne

Closer to Sydney, Mountain Culture Beer Co in the Blue Mountains town of Katoomba brews beers with quirky names like the Pillow Talk IPA and Kitten Mittens Session Ale – the cans they come in are just as eye-opening. The Hunter Valley is best known for wine, but you can find great brews at IronBark Hill Brewhouse and 4 Pines Brewing Company at the Farm.   

The attractive countryside around Uralla is on the map for beer lovers who can sample ales and lagers made with local ingredients at New England Brewing Co. Take a brewery tour and try the Mudgee Mud stout at Mudgee Brewing Co, housed in a century-old former wool store. Or drop into the Thirsty Crow Brewery in Wagga Wagga for a burger and fries with a cold one. 


If you’re after something a bit stronger, check out one of the state’s many distilleries. Husk in the Tweed region of northern NSW is Australia’s only single estate rum distillery, and also produces an eye-popping, violet-hued Ink Gin infused with butterfly pea flowers. And despite an abundance of wineries in Mudgee, Baker Williams Distillery has developed its own loyal following for spirits and liqueurs, including shiraz gin and butterscotch schnapps. 

Husk Distillers, Tumbulgum

Husk Distillers, Tumbulgum

Slightly more obscure, but no less tasty, is Black Gate Distillery in the Warrumbungles, the first hot-climate whiskey distillery in NSW – they also make a highly drinkable rum. Try gin and whiskey in flights or cocktails at the speakeasy bar at Dobson’s Distillery in New England, where lunch is also served on weekends. Or head to the Wildbrumby Distillery in the Snowy Mountains for schnapps made using pristine alpine water.  

Cider houses

Despite being named after a round, juicy citrus fruit, Orange has the perfect climate for growing apples… which equals cider. Visit the Small Acres Cyder cellar door on weekends to taste award-winning cider and perry (pear cider). Continue your cider house trail to Hillbilly Cider Shed and Bilpin Cider Co. in the Blue Mountains, and Pokolbin Cider House in the Hunter Valley

Beer & cider festivals

In May, the Batlow CiderFest celebrates the end of the apple harvest with street parades, live music and tastings aplenty. But of course. Meanwhile, Byron Bay’s June Festival of the Stone at Stone and Wood is a bacchanalian showcase of tasty tipples paired with live music – all profits go to charity. If you’re an indecisive drinker, you’ll love the Hunter Valley Wine & Beer Festival, also in June. 

Couple enjoying the festivities at the 2018 Batlow CiderFest, Batlow in Tumut Area

Batlow CiderFest, Batlow - Credit: Jack of Hearts Studio


Breweries & Distilleries Highlights


Breweries and distilleries in NSW