Located on the banks of the Tumut River, with picturesque views over clear waterways, mountains and bushland, there are plenty of reasons why the town of Tumut could easily be a prime spot for anyone keen on a getaway in the Snowy Mountains region.
Yet, due to its long history as a timber mill town, Tumut never quite enjoyed the tag of tourist destination, despite its abundance of natural beauty just a couple of hours from Canberra.
It was a desire to showcase the town that in part led Tim Martin and Simon Rossato to launch Tumut River Brewing Co in 2013 following an inspirational trip to visit the Dalgety Brewing Co. The former quit his job at the local paper as the pair set about clearing the regulatory hurdles, getting their hands on a wholesale licence a little over 12 months later and launching their first beers at the Royal Hotel in July 2014.
On the outskirts of town, they converted an old tyre shed into a brewery, driven by the idea that good beer, good food and a good place to enjoy both would soon enough start bringing people to town. While it wouldn't open to the public until that summer, they began offering growler fills and got their locals on board from the off, inviting them to help christen the beers that would take names such as Blowering Blonde, Redneck Ale and Ginja Ninja.
Soon enough, it was an idea that proved worthwhile. Sure, locals took to the notion of being able to enjoy their fresh beer at their own brewery but many from further afield began stopping in too. Whether it was those who wanted to escape Canberra for a day, or people keen to spend the weekend exploring the Snowy Mountains, Tumut River Brewing Co soon became the sort of spot you would schedule into your trip.
Tim and Simon didn't just wait for the people to come to them, either. They hit the road with a mobile bar, becoming regulars at the region's festivals. Wasting little time, within a year of releasing their first beer, they'd embarked upon a crowdfunding campaign that enabled them to buy Cavalier's bottling line, invited their fans to help with the design of six-pack holders and were soon brewing and packaging nine beers.
It's a story that's continued on an upward curve since. In late 2016, they added an eight-tap caravan to their on-road fleet and upped their commitment to festivals and events and, while plans to move to a larger site fell through, they were instead able to expand operations on their existing site. The Tumut River team took delivery of a new brewery in March 2017, one that not only allowed them to increase production but also help other small, independent operations get beer to market, including Barellan Beer and Borambola Wines' Tuckerbox Lager.
Arguably the biggest step since launching, however, came in October of that year when their licence was upgraded. It allowed them to install a 24-tap system and build a kitchen, meaning that any time you call in (and they're open seven days a week) you'll be able to choose from a mix of TRBC beers – brewed with locally grown and kilned Voyager malt – plus beers and ciders from other producers in the region. Not that it's slowed their commitment to hitting the road: on the day the expanded brewery and taphouse was opened in May 2018, Tim was pouring beers from the caravan at Batlow Ciderfest...
Add in pizzas made with local ingredients, house-roasted coffee and regular live music that can flit from jazz to punk and it makes the brewery the kind of local operation that helps showcase the region while offering newcomers an extra reason to visit in the first place.
Sure, natural beauty is one thing, but enjoying a fresh pale off tap or taking home a six-pack of recently bottled beer has a beauty all of its own.