For an updated version of this article read our updated Beer on Hamilton Island (updated 2019) post.
I (Geoff) recently had a trip to Hamilton Island for a mates wedding (congrats again Luke and Candice). As soon as I'd heard Hamilton Island was the location for the festivities I knew we were in for a treat with regards to the location, weather and activities but something bugged me as I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of beer selection on a kind of remote island.
Let's face it they have a captive audience and they can dictate whatever they want in terms of alcoholic refreshments - or anything for that matter. They can also charge through the nose if they want. That said I knew that Bob Oatley (owner of Hamilton Island since 2003 and famous yachtsman through his Sydney to Hobart endeavors with his Wild Oats series of boats) had recently started dabbling in beer importing in 2012. His company currently imports Anchor Brewing beers from San Francisco - namely the Steam Ale and Liberty Ale. Googling things I wasn't able to come across anything concrete that these beers were available on the island so I opted for a wait and see mentality (yes I could have called to find out but where is the fun in that).
So once we had landed on the island, checked in to the Reef View hotel and hired a buggy we headed straight for the marina. This is where you'll find the bakery, water activities, general store, cafe and most importantly the Tavern and the Bottleshop (underneath the Tavern). Here is a rough breakdown of beers at each location:
The Tavern - on tap is mainly mainstream beers - Carlton Draught, VB, Pure Blonde. And available in bottles is James Squire (Golden and Amber) and Coopers green. Price is roughly $6 - $8 a beer. No Anchor Brewing beers in site at The Tavern.
The Bottleshop - as expected the bottleshop has a bit more variety and here is a rough run down on beers available and some pricing:
James Squire 150 Lashes or Golden Ale $65 a case
Anchor Steam Ale $90 a case or $26 a six pack (worth every penny!)
Coopers Pale Ale $65 a case or $23 a six pack
Heineken Mini Kegs $45 each
Main steam beers like Hahn Super Dry, Tooheys New, Tooheys Extra Dry etc is about $55 a case or $20 a six pack
Hope that helps anyone in search of information on beer availability on Hamilton Island. For those into craft beer lets hope Bob Oatley continues to import Anchor beers in the future, heck maybe even diversify and start importing other international craft breweries. And if for some reason it all goes pear shape then at least you should still have access to Coopers Pale Ale on the island (which is now Australia's largest 100% Australian owned brewery).
For the wine drinker, there is a heap of Oatley Wines available - smart on their behalf as they can make more margin on these products. It's not bad wine but it does take the foreground of the shop.