Small breweries, distilleries, craft beer & cider in NSW
Regional NSW is well known for its award-winning wines, but you’ll also find an impressive array of refined beverages at next-gen breweries, cider houses and distilleries. Take a tour, enjoy a tasting, meet the brewers and distillers and take part in one of the many festivals on offer as you corkscrew around the countryside.
Craft beer & breweries
Stone and Wood, one of NSW’s most highly regarded breweries, is located in beautiful Byron Bay and offers tours and tastings. Other small-batch breweries on the North Coast include Sanctus Brewing just outside of Yamba, in Port Stephens, Black Duck Brewery in Port Macquarie and 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 in Erina; and bring the kids and dogs to Bay Road Brewing in Gosford. On the South Coast, take a wine tasting at Cupitt’s Estate backed by a beer made with fresh 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, Snowy Mountains Brewing and Tumut River Brewing Co. Closer to Sydney, Mountain Culture Beer Co in Katoomba brews beers with quirky names like the Pillow Talk IPA and Kitten Mittens Session Ale. The Hunter Valley is best known for wine, but you can find great brews at IronBark Hill Brewhouse and Matilda Bay Brewhouse.
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 and zip into the Thirsty Crow Brewery in Wagga Wagga for steak and chips 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 is Australia’s only single estate rum distillery and also produces the famous violet-hued Ink Gin. And despite an abundance of wineries in Mudgee, Baker Williams Distillery has developed its own loyal following for spirits and liqueurs.
For something a bit more under the radar, visit Black Gate Distillery in the Warrumbungles, the first hot-climate whisky distillery in NSW. Try gin and whisky at the speakeasy bar at Dobson’s Distillery in New England, where you can imbibe rum and whisky, and enjoy an Aussie camp oven dinner during the colder months. Head to the Wildbrumby Distillery in the Snowy Mountains for schnapps made using pristine alpine water. Prost!
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 and the Byron Bay Beer Festival showcases more than 80 craft beers and ciders. If you like wine and beer, you’ll love the Hunter Valley Wine & Beer Festival in June. In November, Maitland Gaol hosts the .