Escape to the Mornington Peninsula at the RACV Cape Schanck Resort
The bar and brewery hotspot you need to visit this summer
A food and drinks revolution has been bubbling away in this laid-back hinterland.
In an unassuming industrial estate sandwiched among boat yards and smash repairers on the Mornington Peninsula, there’s a food and drink revolution under way.
Some of the region’s most popular new eateries sit in this unassuming spot between the Mornington Peninsula Freeway and the iconic Dromana drive-in. Home to two breweries, two distilleries and a cidery, it’s an unexpected oasis in a culinary wasteland.
If you’re travelling to the Mornington Peninsula it’s worth the detour. But be warned – it’s always best to book ahead during the busier summer months.
JimmyRum distillery has a goal to change the way Australians think about rum.
Five Dromana drinkeries to visit this summer
JimmyRum, 6 Brasser Avenue, Dromana
JimmyRum is the newest kid on the block, the dream of a marine engineer who was all at sea when he was made redundant after a two-decade career... before a spiritual awakening.
“I love rum,” James McPherson declares. “The advantage I had was being at sea for 20 years. I travelled all over the world and I saw what the world had to offer in regard to rum.”
James, who grew up just down the coast at Mount Eliza, has built Victoria’s first, and so far only, rum distillery. “I’m basically someone who was brave, or stupid enough, to give it a crack and try to sell something people don’t know.”
James is anxiously waiting to unleash his first batch of rum brewed in Dromana, in accordance with Australian law which states that a spirit must be aged two years before it can be called ‘rum’.
As he waits, and the traffic rumbles past on the Mornington Peninsula Freeway, James says he isn’t worried by the industrial setting. “We’ve just put up a few fences and some trees and bits and pieces, you get a band in here you don’t even hear it.”
Two Bays Brewing Co, 1/2 Trewhitt Court, Dromana
Around the corner is the Two Bays Brewing Co, an enterprise born out of necessity. When beer-lover Richard Jeffares was diagnosed as coeliac he feared his drinking days were over. Instead it inspired him to open Australia’s first gluten-free brewery to quench his thirst.
“I needed to set up the brewery in an industrial zone and I had to have a tap room,” Richard says, explaining why his business is in the backblocks of Dromana.
The base ingredients for the beers (rice, buckwheat and millet) are imported from the US and then carefully crafted on site. Visitors can sample the Two Bays Pale Ale and IPA, as well as other developmental drops such as the “experi-lentil’ made from red lentils.
“I have drinkers from across Australia and even New Zealand come here just to have a gluten-free beer,” Richard enthuses. “Some of them haven’t had a beer for 20 or 30 years… you should see the look on their faces when they have that first sip!
Bass & Flinders Distillery, 40 Collins Road, Dromana
Another to recently move into this growing gastronomic hub is the Bass & Flinders Distillery. The distillery was forced to look for new premises in December last year and could not go past the Collins Road industrial estate.
In the bar and tasting room, visitors sip all manner of creations as they gaze across green pastures and the rolling fields leading up to Red Hill.
For a decade Bass & Flinders has been making brandy, gin, vodka and limoncello. All their gin is wine-based, so the abundance of local vineyards were a natural resource for this spirited enterprise.
While some of their products are available at local bottle shops, you can only experience the full range at their new Dromana distillery and tasting room.
There is also a one-day masterclass where you’ll be taught the secrets of this popular spirit, blend your own gin, then take your bottle home at the end of the day.
Recipe for success
Jetty Road Brewery, 12-14 Brasser Avenue, Dromana
Jetty Road Brewery was the original food and beverage tenant in this former culinary wilderness.
Every weekend customers arrive by the busload to try the craft beers and sample the menu inside the enormous beer hall while some soak up the sun and industrial ambience outside.
Mr Little and Peninsula Cider, 20 Brasser Avenue, Dromana
Mr Little and Peninsula Cider is another start-up that offers a taste of something different. Their pear and apple ciders, made from local fruit, continue to collect awards in competitions across the country.
As well as the traditional brews, visitors can try concoctions made with lime, mango, strawberries or ginger. If you like what you try, you can buy them from the cellar door.