Award-winning Ballarat gin makers Kilderkin Distillery have sought to amend a planning permit to include the sale and consumption of liquor in their Mt Pleasant development.
The amendment for the makers of Larrikin Gin includes 'The use of a food and drink premises (hotel, café and one food truck), function centre, sale and consumption of liquor (general licence) and the display of business identification signage'.
Owner of Kilderkin Chris Pratt says the development was always intended to be part of the original application but was separated on the suggestion of a City of Ballarat planning officer to simplify its passage through council.
He says the wording on the application itself doesn't accurately describe what Kilderkin has planned and reflects the classifications council uses. To that end, Mr Pratt has both doorknocked and letterboxed locals explaining the details of the planned development, pointing out there is no accommodation planned, numbers on the site will be limited to 60, and a food van will not be 24/7 but instead used on occasions.
He says local reaction is positive. The Courier contacted locals nearby, who were supportive of the development. Mt Pleasant neighbours of Kilderkin John and Kat said they were excited by the idea of having a new venue to visit, and thought any business initiative would help grow employment and be good for the area.
Kilderkin's first application, to reuse a 2774 square metre block formerly home to the BGT Youth Training Centre at the old Sunnyside Woollen Mill site, passed council in February.
The Sunnyside site is undergoing a reinterpretation with buildings being repurposed for new uses.
The Kilderkin development comes as the state government introduces a distillery door grant in last week's budget.
The $5 million-a-year for two years scheme will be paid to producers at the capped rate of $25 per litre of alcohol in eligible product sales sold through the 'distillery door'.
As Australian Distillers Association Victorian spokesperson Mr Pratt said the grant, when operative, will be a boon for distillers.
"This is wonderful news for craft Victorian distillers once funding flows through," Mr Pratt said.
"We will be able to invest more in our distillery doors to encourage more people to sample Victorian spirits and enjoy a unique and innovative distillery experience leading to further employment opportunities in Victoria.
"We are very pleased the government has recognised the contribution of the craft spirits industry to the Victorian economy generally, and especially in regional areas where many distilleries are based. We thank them for the support and their recognition of the importance of our industry for the economy."
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