Sunshine & Sons rum distillery

In Alcohol, Australian Cultural Exports, Featured Home Page News, Momentum, Queensland
Sunshine Sons rum distillery

A Sunshine Coast distillery is creating rum using local sugar cane, pineapples, tropical fruit and using Australia’s only certified organic molasses. The leftovers from the distillation process are fed to eager cattle.

Mr Conrad and Mr Hobson have big plans for the distillery and hope to break into the national and global fine-spirits market.

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from ABC News 3.4.22

A Sunshine Coast distillery is using local sugar cane, pineapples and tropical fruit to create rum using Australia’s only certified organic molasses.

The leftovers from the distillation process aren’t going to waste either. The dunder, as it’s known, is fed to eager cattle.

Photo of a cow eating dunder
The dunder leftover from the distillery process has a high mineral content and is fed to cows.(Landline: Michael Rennie)

The distillery, Sunshine & Sons, is located in Woombye on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

Distillery co-owner Michael Conrad said he had always been fascinated by the farms in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.

Locally-sourced ingredients

Sunshine & Sons co-owner Matt Hobson said they were looking to build long-term relationships with local farmers by sourcing ingredients on the Sunshine Coast.

“That tradition of agriculture on the Sunshine Coast, there’s excellence in that agriculture,” he said.

“Many of the ingredients we’re using today are not because we’ve gone out and actively sought those from the farmers. The farmers have come to us with, in many cases, some incredible ideas that we’ve absolutely used.

The distillery buys its sugarcane from local grower Gordon Oakes.

Photo of pineapples.
The distillery uses locally sourced pineapples as one of the ingredients in their rum.  (ABC Landline)

His family has been farming on the Sunshine Coast for 84 years, and he was initially skeptical of the new distillers.

“But they’ve been around this long now, and they’ve spent a lot of money and definitely making a lot of headway. I hope they survive; it would be great to see a local business survive in the big market.

“Having someone promote the local area and put it all around Australia and the world, I think that’s great.”

Distilling Australian rum

Mr Conrad and Mr Hobson have big plans for the distillery and hope to break into the national and global fine-spirits market.

“It’s tongue in cheek, but we think big,” Mr Hobson said.

Photo of distilling machinery.
The distillery uses locally-sourced sugarcane to make rum.(Landline: Michael Rennie)

However, the distilling duo said the road to getting the company off the ground hasn’t been an easy one.

“There’s a lot of reasons why you would, if you sat down and thought long and hard about what we’re doing, you may not choose to do it,” Mr Hobson said.

“What we’re producing now, the volumes we believe will be needed to support the size of our business in a minimum of two years.”

Closing the loop on waste

An increase in rum production will mean more rich residual waste, or dunder, destined for hungry cattle.

“When we get our molasses and we’ve fermented it to produce the ethanol that we’ve then extracted to make rum, we have all of the original molasses left with high mineral content, a small amount of protein from the yeast that’s in it, and it’s got all this incredible life in it,” Mr Conrad said.

Photo of dunder.
Dairy farmer Ray Devere says his cows love the dunder and are keen to get home and have a feed of it.(ABC Landline)

“If we were to go and dump that, it’s kind of lost.

“So we send it off to a dairy farm and another cattle stud where they use it to supplement feed their cattle.

“If we increase our production, that increases the amount of dunder available to the farmers.”

Ray Devere’s dairy farm is set to benefit from the increase of dunder available from the distillery.

“For every four litres [of dunder] I feed a cow, I’ll get a one litre [milk] response,” Mr Devere said.

Photo of milking cow.
With the growing production of rum at the distillery, local farmers will benefit from the increased availability of dunder.(Landline: Michael Rennie)

“The fact that it’s local is another benefit, it’s pretty easy to get your hands on it.

“I’m more than happy to take it off them. I’ve got confidence in the boys, they’re making good product down there, and I don’t mind it, [and] the cows don’t mind it.”

Mr Devere is also a fan of the rum being created at the distillery.

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