By Andy Young

The Beenleigh rum distillery has opened a new $5 million visitor centre, which is part of a $25m investment in Queensland by the Bickford’s Group of Companies.

Spokesman for Bickford’s, Chris Illman, said the centre is a new chapter for the rum, which dates back to 1884 and that he hopes the new centre will attract 200,000 tourists per year.

"This is a living piece of Queensland history. It is the oldest registered distillery in Australia,” Illman said.

“The new Visitor Centre houses a museum which is the starting point for our new distillery tours.

“We will take visitors on a trip back in time through the still house, which still bears testament to the 1887 Albert River flood, to the giant barrel hall, where the air is thick with what is known as the Angel’s share – the spirit that evaporates from the barrel as the rum ages.

“People will get to see how Beenleigh rum is returning to the quality and craft it was once renowned for, using small batch copper pot distillation, aging in barrels instead of large vats and quality local ingredients, such as molasses from the family-owned Rocky Point sugar mill just a few kilometres down the road."

Tourism Events Queensland’s partnership director Sharon Raguse added: "This project has rejuvenated what has always been an iconic Queensland attraction. Tourism Events Queensland looks forward to working with the visitor centre and the region on growing what is a fantastic destination for visitors."

The Beenleigh distillery was built by convict labour in 1884 and is now fronted by the modern cellar door. As well as featuring a museum and distillery tours, the centre has a private tasting room, bonded store for sales to the public plus a range of distillery door only products, gifts and merchandise.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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