Port Cygnet Cannery 2.0
A new (not so new) direction for the Cannery
When we first thought about what to do with the Cannery venue, we were still running our catering business and putting on little pop-up lunches and dinners. These intimate events were always exciting and seasonal, sometimes with a theme, sometimes with a guest speaker or producer/winemakers. We loved this experience and it felt firmly rooted in the community we live in. Therefore, we thought about the Cannery as a space for something similar, just on a larger scale. This lined up well with both our vision for the Cannery as a venue that supported local agriculture and our community as well as its important history as a cooperative.
We thought about doing ticketed pizza and pinot nights, talks and panel discussions with farmers and food producers, Sunday BBQs with live music, food and wine festivals, high teas and a series of themed dinners and lunches with matched drinks.
At some point we then started thinking that this rather loose way of running the space would maybe be too confusing and maybe we should have a restaurant with set opening hours. We started moving away from a focus on events to having a restaurant as our main project with a separate event space in the winery for weddings.
When we started planning we did a few projections, imagining how many people would frequent our restaurant, to make decisions on how many people to seat. We thought a really busy Friday night would see us having around 80 guests.
Then we opened and we were incredibly busy from day one. Our optimistic number of 80 guests on a Friday quickly turned into 200. On our busiest weekend we had 800 people coming through our doors in three days.
We had to quickly hire more staff, we had to figure out how to pump out lots and lots of food, without massive wait times, while maintaining quality and consistency. We had to turn people away every weekend.
It was wonderful we were so much more successful than we had anticipated, but somehow it didn’t feel right.
Being so busy meant all the things that we had planned on doing couldn’t be squeezed into that schedule. We were so occupied with organising restaurant services every week, we didn’t have time to promote our farm, even though it is a crucial part of our concept. We couldn’t even think about themed events or promoting local agriculture.
Then COVID-19 hit and all of a sudden, the restaurant was shut. From nervous opening to wild success and back to closed – all in just a few months! After we got over the shock of this, we had the opportunity and the time to think. Where is our real passion and excitement?
We realised what we really want is to create beautiful experiences for people by hosting exciting and interesting events, some of them educational, some just fun, some a little bit challenging. We’d like to tell stories: the stories of the people who grow our food and make our wine, the stories of the area we live in. The stories of all the creative, entrepreneurial and fascinating people who live in our beautiful part of the world.
Instead of working out how to efficiently feed hundreds of people, we’d like to focus on quality and creativity. It’s just really hard to do that at a large scale.
So thanks to the gift of enforced reflection time, we’re going back to our original idea.
We’re saying goodbye to the restaurant ‘Cannery Kitchen and Bar’ and hello to the new Port Cygnet Cannery!
You can look forward to intimate dinners, meeting farmers and producers, drinking locally made wine, beer and cider, and learning more about how it’s made. There will be casual BBQs, pizza parties, ping pong nights, curated dinners with matched drinks, bake sales, food and wine festivals, sports club events, live music, movie nights, guest chef pop-ups, beautiful high teas and so much more!
We will start with smaller pop-ups as restrictions slowly get lifted, and then develop a variety of ticketed events as things open up. You will hear about all those events via our newsletter, on this website and our Instagram page.
We’re very excited to take you with us on that new path and can’t wait to see you at one of our events!
Franca and Asher
Port Cygnet Cannery is situated 50 minutes drive south of Hobart in the historic port town of Cygnet, Tasmania. The building was formerly an apple canning factory and is now evolving into a hub of food, beverage and agricultural businesses.
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