New artisan distilleries is reshaping the Gold Coast’s hospitality scene

Offering a new level of maturity to match any capital city and an alternative to traditional bars and clubs that helped earn the Gold Coast its “glitter strip” title, the city has emerged as a hotspot for artisan liquor producers and “new-premise” drinking experiences.

Sparkling hard seltzer producer Hard Fizz, which only began production in July 2020, has responded to demands to open its Burleigh-based distillery to patrons four evenings a week.

Hard Fizz co-founder and CEO Wade Tiller said the plethora of craft breweries, gin and vodka distilleries on the Gold Coast was “inspiring”, with hard seltzer now added to the growing list.

“It’s brewed like a beer and it’s all health-forward,” Tiller said.

“The reason it exists is that it’s next to zero sugar, low calories, and it’s part of the better-for-you drinking trend that’s now global. People are conscious of what’s going in their body.”

Hard Fizz sprouts into the heart of Gold Coast

“Hard seltzer had only emerged in Australia over the past two years, with Hard Fizz now ranked third in the independent trade and sold in 3,000 stores Australia-wide”

“The category started in the United States five summers ago. We entered the market last summer along with around 40 other brands.”

“We felt like we had a brand that could cut through and do different things.”

“We pitch that there’s no better place to do a hard seltzer than the Gold Coast because of the climate, the outdoor active lifestyle, we’re not afraid of having a good time, and we make sure the rig’s ready.  We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and people seem to like that.”

“Australia has adopted it faster than we first anticipated, which is great. And it’s good that we’ve got a strong bunch of competitors to make it a thing.”

Hard Fizz success attributed to State Government

Tiller said the Queensland artisan producer liquor licence, introduced by the State Government, had been vital in the rapid growth in new drinking spots across south-east Queensland.

The licence allows local craft brewers and distillers to sell their own product as takeaway and online as well as at pop-up locations including festivals and markets. It provides the opportunity to sell craft beers from other artisanal producers as well as Queensland wines.

There are 85 licensees under the new regulations across the Gold Coast and Brisbane.

“What we love about it is that it’s local. It allows us to hero our brand, but also hero some great friends as we’ve got some distillers and brewers locally. It’s really cool for the community and allows more people to see these great local brands.”

“There’s a new trend of being proud of your neighbourhood.  This is something that’s been happening globally and now locally – people want to be proud of what’s in their hood.”

“There’s a combination of trends that are working in our favour.”