Sou’West crowned Victorian Tourism Venue of the Year.

July 21, 2022 BY

TOP: Venue manager Tyler Ellery, operations manager Ishbel McAleer and head chef Alexander McIntosh celebrating the Venue of the Year honour. Photo: SUPPLIED.

ONE of Torquay’s favourite watering holes has been honoured with the title of Tourism Restaurant at the Australia Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA) Awards for Excellence.

Baines Crescent establishment Sou’West Brewery won the honour out of 130 cafes, restaurants and businesses at the awards night hosted at Federation Square venue Zinc.

“We were so stoked to take home the award at the gala event in our first year of entering,” Sou’West Brewery Operations Manager Ishbel McAleer said.

“It was such an amazing surprise to win the award, and we can’t thank our committed team who have worked so hard to get this venue off the ground.

“Everyone puts so much love and passion into the business and treats it like it’s their own child.

“We feel that this love and care comes across in the beer, the food and the service.”

After opening during the pandemic, which was a leap of faith, the Torquay brewery believes the sky is the limit.

“Our first year has been the most nerve-racking first year of business with all the pandemic interruptions and restrictions.

“We were certainly worried having a 400-seat venue and then being only able to have ten people inside at some stages.

“Now we feel that difficulty has gone full circle and we are now enjoying the thrills of winning awards in 2022.”

New initiatives including Sou’West’s seasonal beers and its collaboration with local businesses will be a focus point for the brewery moving forward.

Sou’West Brewery serve a unique offering of beer and food at their huge 400 seat venue. Photo: PETER MARSHALL

“We hope to hit a stride in our second year of business and continue to make improvements around our venue, but ultimately, it’s about creating relationships with local businesses.

“We currently have a partnership with The Salty Dog CafĂ©, where you get a free pot card down there when you purchase a number of coffees.

“Concepts like this are ways of us continuing to offer a unique offering in our community all the while making business buddies.”

The Restaurant and Catering Hostplus Awards for Excellence recognised operators in metropolitan and regional centres across more than 45 categories.

The awards are the only awards with an independent judging system with over 280 judges reporting to state Judge Chairs and a National Chief Judge.

Caterers are assessed on all aspects of their catering business including operations, food, service, staffing and event/site outcomes to determine the catering category winners.

Winners also included Jack Rabbit Vineyard, Best Restaurant in a Winery category for VIC/TAS, Higher Mark at GMHBA Stadium, 2022 Victorian & Tasmanian Caterer of the Year Award, and Mavs Greek Restaurant, Greek

Restaurant of the Year in Victoria and Tasmania.