REVEALED: Plans for Gladstone drink comeback in microbrewery
THE owner of The Factory on Auckland St have revealed their plans to transform the building into a microbrewery while bringing back an iconic Gladstone brand.
Michael Comley has founded the business Ward's Brewing Company, paying homage to the iconic Gladstone brand and original occupier of the Ward's Cordials factory.
The company submitted an application for a medium impact industry, hotel and caretaker's accommodation to Gladstone Regional Council in February which was approved last month.
Subject to financing The Factory will be transformed into a microbrewery complete with dining and a tasting room.
Mr Comley promises the business will have soul.
Ward's originated in Many Peaks before the Ward family came to Gladstone acquiring the Auckland St property.
The factory was originally designed for drink production and the Ward's Cordials brand can be trace its history on the site back to 1922.
The Comley family bought Ward's Cordials in 1974 and produced drinks until the 1980s before changing the warehouse into Budget Rent a Car.
With Budget now operating in Callemondah, Mr Comley spent time coming up with ideas for the shed before landing on returning it to it's original use - producing drinks.
"I believe reigniting a historical brand like Ward's - changing it from Ward's Cordials to Ward's Brewing Company - is interesting in itself," Mr Comley.
"It develops a bit of community pride, gives us an artisan product and returns the property to its highest and best use.
"It would be a shame to just to keep it as a warehouse."
A refurbishment is needed to bring the shed up to scratch.
However, parts of the design, such as slightly curved floors to allow for drainage which are already featured at the site, make the property fit for a microbrewery.
The brewery will focus on new beer products as consumer demand steps away from the artificial products found in the original Ward's soft drink recipes, however some old time favourites may make an appearance.
"It is our ambition to bring back some of those products," Mr Comley said.
"Some of the more nostalgic ones like ginger beers, lemonade and horehound."
Mr Comley said once the project was shovel ready and subject to financing he was was optimistic the microbrewery could be up and running by mid-2021.
He said through Gladstone's inaugural Craft Beer and Cider Festival there was demonstrated demand for a microbrewery in the region and local support for this project had been overwhelming.
"There's just something about a brewery that people get excited about," he said.