By Andrew Starke

A first-time publican hopes to revitalise the Dugandan Hotel at Boonah in south-east Queensland by adding a cellar door to attract both tourists and regular customers.

Sirromet Wines owner Terry Morris recently bought a partnership share in the hotel and plans to build on the success of cellar door at Sirromet's Mount Cotton winery by offering wine tastings.

"This is an iconic pub known for its old-style country charm, great food and cold beer, and none of that is going to change," he said.

"It will provide a unique pub-cellar door experience that allows people to enjoy award-winning wines created by the winemaking team at Sirromet, set in an historic pub on the popular Scenic Rim wine trail."

Morris is in partnership in the hotel venture with fellow-Gold Coast businessman Dean Merrell, CEO of Morris International, whose interests include Sirromet, Carrara Markets, and The Holden Driving Centre at Norwell.

"This is the first time I've been in hotel ownership so it's something new and exciting for me," said Morris.

The ownership change was settled on Tuesday June 14.

Merrell is managing director of the newly-formed Dugandan Hotel and Winery Pty Ltd, which will operate the landmark Boonah licensed premises with a history dating back to the 1860s and which is located 80km south-west of Brisbane.

He said new features for the hotel under consideration also included creating an outdoor dining area, introducing live music, and possibly holding markets on weekends.

Dean Merrell and Terry Morris toast the success of their new venture

"We will speak to locals in the area, and regular customers, and listen to their suggestions about what changes or improvements they would like," said Merrell.

"Our aim is to enhance the hotel's position as a Scenic Rim attraction."

Merrell said the existing staff of 14 at the hotel would be retained.

The hotel features a public bar, and indoor dining area and kitchen, pool table, video games, and four poker machines.

The hotel's previous owners were Monroar Pty Ltd of Ballina.

The Shout Team

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

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