It was the beginning of the 20th century when a young Ernie and Wally Ward made a bet with the two men who had started a hobby cordial business in their father’s shed up at Many Peaks, Boyne Valley.
The boys won, claiming the factory equipment and started making drinks with their father Albert.
Some years later the family relocated to Gladstone where Ward & Sons officially opened the doors to the drinks factory on Auckland Street in 1922.
Everyone in Gladstone knew Ward’s Cordials and everyone had a favourite flavour. Orange? Sarsaparilla? I loved Sparkling Pineapple.
Ernie worked for his father, taking over the factory and winning gold at the Sydney Royal Show in the 1950s.
My parents took over the business in 1974.
My name is Michael and I spent my childhood watching the factory line and riding on the old Bedford trucks delivering drinks around Gladstone.
Like any young person, I wanted to make my own mark on the world and found myself working in London for more than 20 long, rainy years in commercial real estate and asset planning.
Memories of Queensland’s sunshine and the warmth of Gladstone locals made me realise there’s no place like home.
And so I returned to the small smoke where, along with my sisters, I resurrected the former cordial factory into an exciting brewpub with a historic heart.
Cold beer, a welcoming smile and a laidback space for the community to hang out at is my way of giving back to the place I grew up in.
Cheers to the next chapter in Ward’s history. I’ll be glad to see you at the bar.