FIRST LOOK: Gympie beer lovers in for exciting new treat
A PLUMBER by day and brewer by night, Graham Kidd said the first time he tackled a craft beer competition there were a few nerves frothing about.
"I was frightened," he said, noting his bar for success was the judges not telling him "don't come back again"
It turned out that would not be a problem.
"I got first and second."
Now he wants to give Gympie the chance to share in his award-winning talents, with plans well underway to throw open the doors of his own craft brewery - Latitude 26 Brewing - by the end of September.
Mr Kidd, a construction industry careerist who worked as a plumber for almost four decades before moving on to grinding floors, said it was the creativity of craft beers that drove his "obsession".
"There's so many variables in it," he said.
"You can create something that nobody else has done.
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"It's endless what you can do with it … plus you can drink the rewards at the end."
His passion for beer has been a constant part of his life, but grown significantly in recent years.
"Probably in the past eight or 10 years I've gotten really serious with it, and started doing brewing comps" Mr Kidd said.
A big part was the thrill of creating new brews that people do not know about.
"That excites me (brewing different types of beers that people don't know about)."
His passion took him to the Gympie's amateur brewers club, and then on to another dream.
"(I) always wanted to have my own craft brewery," he said.
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"This is something the town's been screaming out for that we haven't got."
Unfortunately Gympie - and Mr Kidd - have been forced to wait thanks to COVID-19.
"We started this before the pandemic," he said.
"It caught us with our pants down and we had to put it on hold for six months."
In fact he had been looking for "two or three" years, never able to find the right place.
And then a former takeaway store on Tozer St, opposite the Rattler, came on the market.
If things hold, the hope is Latitude 26's doors will be thrown open at the end of September.
And the bar could be the stepping stone to Gympie's next great empire.
"I'm just going to see how it goes here … if it goes mad I'll expand and go somewhere else."