Seen as a sleepy coastal village, the laidback feel of Coolum appeals to a vast array of holidaymakers. With many businesses heading to the larger centres to hone their craft and target bigger audiences, two new producers have seized on an opportunity to bring some life to the local beverage scene.

The new players join Blackflag Brewing, the first to make the move when they opened their Coolum location in 2022.

The latest? Enter the Coolum Beer Company. Five locals with a passion for beer who met at a homebrewing club have joined forces. Located in the industrial estate on Junction Drive at Coolum Beach, the doors officially opened in December 2023, and the team behind the launch haven’t looked back.

Jesse Atkinson is the man behind the beer. Having honed his craft for a decade at Noosa Hinterland Brewing Co, he brings a wealth of experience and creativity to an extensive list of beers. There are three beers in the core range: Coolum Common Draught, Point Perry Pale Ale and the flagship Beach Days Session Ale. Expect to come across lagers, pilsners, stouts and IPAs, to name a few.

Idaho 7 is Atkinson’s hop of choice and that is clear given its use in a number of beers throughout the range. It delivers continuity, balance and drinkability. With 12 rotating taps to keep things fresh, two of these are dedicated to other local Sunshine Coast breweries, demonstrating the collegiality that the brewing community shares.

The retro and nostalgic feel of the taphouse is the work of local artist Alison Mooney. Uplifting vibrant colours set the tone, and the expansive indoor area opens out onto a spacious lawn with bench seating and various games enticing you to soak up the sun. A hit with young families, the relaxed atmosphere is precisely what the team set out to achieve.

With an aim to source everything as local as possible, a full kitchen is available with a classic range of brew-friendly food, including burgers, tacos and a late-night pizza menu.

Don’t despair if beer isn’t your thing; the focus on locals is highlighted furthermore with Sunshine and Sons gin and vodka on the shelves, as well as a vast array of wines from Queensland’s Granite Belt, including Ridgemill Estate, Golden Grove Estate and Le Petite Mort.

A mezzanine level can be hired as a function space, and you can be sure to catch some live music from local artists on Fridays through to Sunday.

Tourists need not worry that the brewery is on the other side of the motorway in the industrial estate. Getting there couldn’t be easier with a courtesy bus servicing the area. It’s just another reason you can stay a little longer.

You’ll find me at the bar with the flagship Beach Days Session Ale (3.5 per cent alcohol). Clean and fresh with a good mouthfeel, it’s tropical and citrusy with a dash of bitterness.

Coolum Beer Company is open Wednesday to Sunday.

Located a hop, skip and a jump around the corner is the other new venue: Dacelo Distilling – Coolum’s first distillery. A passion project for owners Sammy and Siobhan, Dacelo is the genus name for the Kookaburra.

Both locals themselves, Sammy and Siobhan wanted to pursue something apart from their regular day jobs that could sustain the family and contribute to the local community.

New to distilling, they have built a strong reputation already since opening the doors in October 2023.

That community vibe is certainly felt at Dacelo, with as much produce sourced locally as possible. The cheese and salami for their charcuterie boards come from nearby, and they also reuse the produce that goes into the gin to make jams and preserves.

The bar area has a capacity for 40 patrons, with a mezzanine area overlooking the lake behind the property – the perfect spot to enjoy one of the many cocktails on offer.

Seven gins are currently produced using an array of native botanicals, and a whiskey is available too. Guests are welcome to taste all gins, and if you can’t make up your mind, the sampler pack of six 100-millilitre gins has proven popular.

Of the gins themselves, the runaway success has been the Gumbi Gumbi. The earthiest of the range, Gumbi Gumbi leaves are infused with strawberry gum, white kunzea and desert wattle seed with a delicate mintiness tickling the palate on close. For those seeking a more classic style, the White Leucistic is the classic dry gin made with a native juniper. It shows subtle notes of lemon tea tree and old man saltbush.

Open every Friday and Saturday from 12-6pm, Dacelo Distilling is located at 9/48 Lysaght Street, Coolum Beach.

Steve Leszczynski is a wine writer, author, wine dinner host and MC. Apart from writing for his website, Steve co-authored a book, Grenache – Barossa Grown. He contributes to Halliday Wine Companion magazine, Vinomofo, Wine Business Magazine and Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine.