Beenleigh Distillery

since 1884

Queensland Australia

Francis Gooding and his brother-in-law, John Davy, arrived in Australia from Devon in 1862. They acquired land between the Albert and Logan Rivers through the Coffee and Sugar regulations and named their modest plot Beenleigh after their home in England. Like others in the area, they planted sugar cane and by 1869 were cultivating 55 acres of sugar cane and constructed their own sugar mill. The next ten years saw the region grow into a provincial trading center and take the name of the immigrant's plantation. By 1876, nine sugar mills and two distilleries were operating within four miles of the growing town. When the Pioneer Floating Sugar Company finally ceased operating, Goody and Davy bought the pot still from the beached Walrus and moved it ashore next to their sugar mill. Beenleigh obtained a license from the Inspector of Distilleries to make rum in June 1884. Today, though not currently in production, Beenleigh is the oldest licensed distillery on the Australian continent.

The lower price of sugar in 1884 was only part of the reason that more distilleries were licensed in the second half of that decade. Distilling rum from sugar cane molasses and juice generated more money than making sugar in the depressed market. By March 31, 1885, the Beenleigh distillery had amassed 9877 gallons of rum in their warehouse. A flood in 1887, took the distillery and a large number of rum barrels down the river but another still was installed and brick building were built to replace the ruined still house.

In 1899, Beenleigh rum won a Gold Medal at the London International Fair, the first of many awards won by this Australian distillery. The next year saw some sugar mills and distilleries closed but Beenleigh prospered with new equipment that took advantage of advances in the milling technology. By 1995, the sugar factory and distillery were known as the Albert River Milling and Distillery Co.

Over the next twenty years the land, buildings and business changed hands several times, then in 1917 the Beenleigh Rum Distillery Pty Ltd was purchased by Thomas Brown and Sons Ltd. During their stewardship the distillery was expanded to distill molasses from sugar mills in the Isis district, Bingera, Gin Gin and Woongalba. Between the World Wars, the distillery expanded again to include a wharf and everything needed to become a self-sufficient rum factory.

In 1969, Beenleigh closed until it was purchased in 1972 when it was again modernized and began producing whisky, brandy, vodka, gin and ouzo. Another flood in 1974 destroyed some of the buildings and all of the records were destroyed. The property changed hands again in 1980 and a dam which had existed since the early 20th century was rebuilt to protect the investment. During this expansion of the distillery the roof of the still house was painted the bright red that has been part of the Beenleigh brand. By the following year modern continuous column stills and new fermentation tanks had been installed.

Since that time a tourist center including a small museum and tavern were added to the distillery and became known as the Beenleigh Distillery and Moran's Wharf under a tourist park license. Then in 2003, the brand name and existing supplies of bulk spirits were sold to VOK Beverages then sold again the following year to Stuart Gilbert, an Olympic sailor and entrepreneur. In 2007, Gilbert sold his interest to Lion Nathan, an Australian wine and spirits company.
There are 4 products in our database distilled by Beenleigh Distillery.
Beenleigh Rum Classic Liqueur
Beenleigh Traditional Dark Rum
Beenleigh White Rum
Stubbs Queensland White Rum

Want to stay informed?
Join the Ministry of Rum Mailing Lists

Last updated October 11, 2008