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Hiker Brewing Co.

Site Selection – Reducing the Red Tape

Unless you have actually done it (or in our case – doing it), the amount of red tape that you have to get through to actually get a brewery up and running is immense.  We have now spent a lot of time and money (on things such as consultants), in order to get into a position to finally be able to submit our Development Application (DA) to the council. All of this red tape is really around the site we have selected to build the brewery on, and regardless of where the location is the majority of this red tape doesn’t go away.

I thought I would share my top 3 tips about selecting your site (purely from a compliance and red tape cost point of view – I have not included site selection based on target markets, type of brewery – production vs taproom etc) from what we have experienced that maybe of help for anyone aspiring to build their own brewery, this includes the red tape but also other things that you need to consider such as how much electricity is available, and where are you going to put all the services (i.e. CO2, LPG, Glycol, air compressors) you need to run your brewery.  

Tip 1 – Engage a Town Planner Early

It pays to engage a Town Planner when you start to look at locations.  Thankfully I knew Ken from Ken Ryan & Associates, and I kept sending him locations that I was looking at.  Ken would quickly run the ruler over the site, looking at things such as current zoning, whether it was in a flood zone, available car parks, proximity to residential areas to name a few. Ken would give his advice as to whether it is worth pursuing from a town planning perspective.

I must have sent Ken over 10 locations to run his eye over, and until the last one (which we secured), there was always an issue, mainly to do with being in a flood zone, not enough car parking and being too close to residential areas.  Our focus was on finding a location with minimal issues in order to get through council.

We finally found a location in Salisbury, which ticked the majority of the boxes from a town planning point of view –  I can still remember Ken saying you finally found a good site – which I didn’t think I would hear after so many times Ken highlighting all the show stoppers.. 

Tip 2 – Know your Utilities 

Something we didn’t do before we signed the lease, as we were somewhat relieved to actually find a largely suitable site (from a town planning point of view), but in hindsight we should have done as part of our due diligence was around utilities – which as a production facility are essential.  

Things to check and consider the costs to upgrade if required are:

  • How many amps of electricity are available (breweries need a lot of power);
  • How up to date is the main switch board – is it compliant and suitable for a brewery;
  • How much infrastructure is in the building that can be utilized within the brewery such as lighting, fans, and toilets.
  • How big is the water pipe going into the property – breweries need a good and fast water supply.
  • Is there LPG gas mains to the property? – not a showstopper but nice to have rather than bottled gas. 
  • Where are you going to install utilities such as glycol chillers, CO2, LPG, air compressors, and where are you going to place your settlement tanks for waste water treatment.

We signed our lease not really doing a full assessment of these critical factors (are we weren’t really aware), but thankfully the majority of these considerations were fine, with the exception of the compliance of the main switch board, which the landlord is now upgrading as the current one wasn’t compliant and we think was installed in the 1950’s, and not enough toilets (which we did know about). 

With the other utilities we were lucky in particular with the water supply with a 50mm pipe going into the building, which will give us plenty of water and pressure.  For all our other services (settlement tank, glycol chillers, air compressor and CO2, and LPG)  we have a nice flat grass area at the end of the building. The settlement tank (which will be a whopping 6,500 litres) will be dug into the ground, so thankfully it’s a grass area and we don’t have to break concrete (and reinstate) to install. 

Tip 3 – Line up your Consultants for the DA early

As part of our DA application to council, we had to get a number of consultants involved, including draftsman, acoustics, emissions and traffic management.  All of these reports are vital and are required to be included in any DA submission.

We took over the lease for the property in Salisbury in early December and we were planning to have the consultants on board and reports completed and DA submitted in a timely manner.  We are now in March and now close to finishing the reports to submit the DA application.  Things got delayed due to a number of factors – Christmas Holidays, Covid outbreak, and a high demand for specialist consultants in Traffic Management.

The last issue about availability of a Traffic Management Consultants was extremely frustrating.  We rang every consultant in Brisbane, and none had capacity to do our job for a few months, and those that were willing to fit us in, basically quoted 3 times their going rate.  In the end we lent on our Town Planner to pull some strings and finally got one on board.


I hope this helps shed some light on some of the red tape we have had to deal with in our journey to opening the brewery.  There are lots of other pieces of red tape that we are dealing with including water waste, producer licenses, excise, certification and I am sure others that we will discover along the way. 


  • reply

    mini golf course

    June 5, 2023

    Great article.