Floodwaters have overwhelmed properties in Northern NSW, and along Brisbane’s iconic riverfront, impacting several of the city’s best-known breweries and bars.

Howard Smith Wharves, found under Brisbane’s landmark Storey Bridge, was the location of a daring rescue on Sunday after a houseboat sank following a collision with the Kangaroo Point Ferry Terminal.

Members of the public, workers and staff at the nearby Felons Brewery formed a human chain, working for more than 10 minutes to pull a man in his 70s from the raging Brisbane river. The man was reported to have suffered no significant injuries during his ordeal.

The historic wharves date back to the 1930s and reopened as an entertainment district in 2018. The site now hosts several well-known Brisbane restaurants and bars, including the Felons Barrell Hall and Mr Percival’s.  

An Instagram post from February 28 declared that the Felons Brewery had been saved from the waters, though it remains closed in the interest of public safety.

The full extent of the damage to the wharves, and on-site properties is yet to be known, with many businesses remaining shuttered at the time of writing.

Floodwaters have also affected the Eagle Street Pier dining district, which remains closed to the public.

XXXX ceases production while assessments made

The neon sign of Castlemaine Perkins XXXX brewery in Milton is a well-known local landmark, but the plant has not been spared by the rising waters. Images have shown the brewery to be under several feet of water.

XXXX’s parent company, Lion, released a statement to press, saying: “Our number one priority is, as ever, the safety of our team at XXXX, and our broader Lion sales team across the impacted regions. We have now contacted all team members and have confirmed they are safe and well.”

“We have undertaken some initial assessments of the damage at the brewery this morning and have made the decision to cease production for the coming days while we get things back up and running safely.”

Lion does not currently anticipate any immediate supply issues, but as the floods continue to be severe, this position could change.

“Our thoughts are with everyone right across Queensland and New South Wales feeling the impacts of this natural disaster as it continues to unfold,” the statement continued.

“It is absolutely heart-breaking to see our home state underwater once again, especially after such a challenging couple of years.”

“XXXX will be there for Queensland again in this time of need, just as it has been for nearly 145 years. We will get through this together, Queensland,” Lion concluded.

Nearby Newstead Brewing Co. also appears to have suffered from the flood, with an Instagram post on Tuesday describing the location as “having its own pool party at the moment.”

Lismore suffers record floods, brewer freed from rising waters

Across the state border, the town of Lismore has endured some of the worst flooding in the country, with waters reaching over 14m in depth and the nearby levee breached.

At Two Mates Brewing, located in Lismore, former Olympian and current brewer Grant Smith was trapped in the brewery for a few hours while the water rose.

A statement on the brewery’s Facebook page reads: “Brew mates, Grant is currently trapped in the brewery at Engine St.”

“He’s more worried about Ruby across the road trapped sitting on her veranda rail, he can get out through a hole he’s punched through the tin, but if anyone can get Ruby and him to safety it would be greatly appreciated…”

Later comments revealed that ‘Ruby’ was recused by a man on a kayak, with Smith and ‘Ruby’ eventually retrieved from the brewery by emergency services.

AHA talking to government

The Shout approached the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) in both Queensland and NSW, with the NSW Director of Liquor and Policing, John Green saying: “AHA NSW has been in contact with both our industry partners/suppliers and Government in relation to easing the financial burden at this time and we will be providing information to members as we receive information on that assistance.”

“Bush pub operators are a resilient bunch, but after COVID, floods, bushfires, droughts, mouse plagues and now floods again, there is only so much they can take,” Green continued.

“Their local communities are facing the same issues and we know they’ll be mopping up and getting their doors open for locals as soon as they can.”

Brisbane City Council provides sandbags for residents and businesses – see more here.

The Queensland State Emergency Service can be accessed here, and NSW here.

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