Gold Coast breweries keeping spirits high and setting new records
The companies riding the wave of the zero alcohol movement.
Australia’s first dedicated non-alcoholic brewery will open on the Gold Coast next month, as the market for zero alcohol drinks continues to explode.
Clinton and Lozen Schultz founded the Aboriginal owned and led Sobah Beverages in 2017 and have seen their non-alcoholic brews go from strength to strength.
In the next month, they will open their new Sobah headquarters, brewery and native foods café along Reedy Creek Road at Burleigh Heads and grow their staff from five to 15.
At the same time, the business is now valued at $11 million with Clinton projecting it to reach $15 million by the end of 2024.
“We’re Australia’s first dedicated non-alcoholic brewery and we’re pretty excited about this next stage,” Clinton said.
“The new venue, which seats 60, will be open for breakfast and lunch and everything on the menu will be native foods inspired.
“I’m super proud of the team. There has been a lot of effort by everyone.”
SOBAH Beverages Founder Clinton Schultz
Sobah’s premium vegan-friendly, preservative free, non-alcoholic craft beers are infused with Australian native fruit and spices and its core range includes Lemon Aspen Pilsner, Finger Lime Cerveza, Pepperberry IPA and Davidson Plum GF (gluten-free) Ale (gluten-free).
Clinton said the business had received assistance for the City of Gold Coast Business Attraction Program.
“I think doing business on the Gold Coast traditionally has been a lifestyle choice and there’s not really a better place to be situated than here,” he said.
“The Gold Coast has grown and become more sophisticated. Moving towards the Olympic Games, the Gold Coast is perfectly positioned for small boutique businesses such as ours to really make our mark and grow on a global level.”
The demand for zero alcohol beverages continues to spiral
Clinton said Australia’s non-alcoholic drinking market grew by 200 per cent in the past year while addressing recent media claims that the price of non-alcoholic drinks prohibited more people from buying them.
“It is a burgeoning market and I don’t think we’ve even tapped the sides of it. We’re saying you can still enjoy yourselves without alcohol,” he said.
“Making non-alcoholic beer costs more and making craft beer costs more. It is an expensive thing to do.
“We need to continue to educate people that things are much the same in the beer industry as the wine industry. You have your large players and then you have unique, boutique brewers of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks who are making beautiful products and there is a not more time and energy into making these quality products.”
Clovendoe produces alcohol free spirits
Another contributor to the Gold Coast’s growing non-alcoholic beverage industry is Clovendoe, Australia’s first female-owned and operated distilling company.
Catie Fry and Sarah Bendy are the brains and brawn behind locally handcrafted natural botanical non-alcohol spirits at their multi-award-winning distillery located at Burleigh Heads which launched in 2020 after Catie relocated from central Queensland.
Clovendoe was awarded gold medals for their entire range at The Global Spirit Masters, as well as receiving silver medals in the 2022 Australian Distilled Spirits Awards.
It also won a fleet of gold at the UK Spirits Business 2022 Luxury Masters Awards and bronze medals at the globally renowned International Wine & Spirits Competition and Sprout Zero recently took silver at the inaugural 2023 World Alcohol Free Awards.
Catie Fry at the Clovendoe still
Catie, the head distiller, is urging more Australians to explore and replace their usual-go-to spirits with zero-alcohol spirits.
Products from this million-dollar business are stocked in all Dan Murphys stores in Queensland and select retailers nationally.
“At Clovendoe Distillery, we are meticulous in creating zero alcohol, distilled spirits which are low calorie, vegan friendly, made ethically and sustainably. We use 21 unique natural botanicals to create a range of non-alcoholic spirits which were awarded Gold at the Global Spirits Masters,” Catie said.
“Clovendoe Zero is perfect for any social occasion and can be the base of a suite of exotic non- alcoholic cocktails, created with your choice of tonics, mixers and garnish. There are three in the Zero range – STEM, SPROUT and SEED.
“The joy and appeal in drinking Clovendoe Zero is certainly not a poor cousin to alcoholic spirits. Quite the opposite. We want Clovendoe Zero to be a natural go-to drinking experience that can be enjoyed and appreciated at the same level as a good gin or vodka.
“The intensity of flavour and its palette feel is just as enjoyable as its alcohol counterparts and can be enjoyed all year round, regardless of season or occasion.”
Catie Fry picking botanicals
Catie said demand continued to grow, even among younger drinkers, amid future plans to export their halal drinks to south-east Asia and the Middle East, as well as open a distillery door to the public on the Gold Coast.
“An increasing number of Australians are being more mindful in what they put in the bodies so to have a non-alcohol spirit like Clovendoe which is simply beautiful to drink and is guilt-free it certainly becomes a more appetising option,” she said.
“Locals in south-east Queensland are really into their artisanal products and are generally seen to put their money where their mouth is in supporting local businesses.
“There is becoming quite a trail of craft distilleries in this area who are bringing out some really good stuff. There is an appreciation and a palette on the Gold Coast for refined artisanal products.
“We’re women at the helm flipping the narrative.”