Woman talking to people on tablet

Seniors from across Australia have enjoyed a frothy with some of the country's finest brewers from the comfort of their own homes, thanks to an online platform that is broadening the horizons of some of our most isolated residents. 

Inspired by Oktoberfest and facilitated Feros Care's Virtual Social Centre, seniors from as far as Redan in Victoria to Urangan in Queensland's Wide Bay participated in a four-part virtual beer tasting event with Byron Bay's iconic Stone & Wood brewery. 

The participants, aged 68 to 87, were first given a virtual tour of the sprawling facility in Northern New South Wales where they met the team and learnt about the brewing process. 

Next, a mixed four-pack of Stone & Wood's finest beers arrived in the post and sat patiently in the fridge to be brought out each Wednesday from October 21 to November 11. 

As a group and under the guidance of Stone & Wood tasting room manager, Jess Flynn, the seniors sipped their suds and dissected the beer colour, flavour, and aroma; discussing them in detail, providing feedback and evaluation on the different styles.  

Stone & Wood beer

Patricia Reh from Illawarra invited friends, and fellow clients, around to join in the tasting session and said they had a whale of a time. 

"We got dressed up in German outfits, had German food and did a lot of singing and dancing," said Mrs Reh. 

"We're big users of the Virtual Social Centre - we use it every day, mostly for exercise. 

"The beer tasting was a lot of fun, the beer was really good and we're looking forward to the next session." 

Stone & Wood's Ms Flynn said the virtual tasting provided another platform to people to learn and socialise when face-to-face wasn't an option. 

“The true traditional role of a brewery is to cultivate community and togetherness, sharing a beer and a laugh in good times and bad," she said. 

"It’s so integral for us to keep the senior members of our community involved, appreciated and connected and we were thrilled to have the opportunity to utilise Feros Care's Virtual Social Centre for this purpose." 

Feros Care CEO Jennene Buckley said the virtual tasting events were another great example of her team's dedication to providing seniors with new experiences that they may otherwise not have access to. 

“We understand how important it is for seniors to stay connected to the community and continue to learn new things and we have seen first-hand how this improves their health and wellbeing,” she said. 

"The Virtual Social Centre was initially created for seniors who found it difficult to leave their home or care facility, or those who lived remotely, but during Covid times it has been a lifeline for people everywhere who may be in isolation for government or health reasons. 

"The VSC hosts everything from group gardening courses to book clubs and we've recently held a live concert with disco diva Lisa Hunt, and now our version of Oktoberfest with Stone & Wood - so we're always looking for new ways to expand our programs. 

“The beer tasting sessions have been a really fun activity and the seniors have loved how interactive they’ve been – enthusiastically asking questions and giving feedback on each beer”. 

“We’re very appreciative of the Stone & Wood team for generously donating their time and beers to provide such a great experience for these seniors.” 

Woman doing a virtual tour of Stone & Wood brewery

The partnership between Stone & Wood and Feros Care began last year when some of the team volunteered to spend the day visiting Feros Village Wommin Bay, taking residents to the beach and singing karaoke. 

The visit was followed up by a brewery tour for a bus-load local seniors who were able to see the facilities and meet the makers. 

The Stone & Wood beer tasting sessions are the latest initiative for Feros Care’s Virtual Social Centre, an online community that gives participants access to everything from group exercise classes and cooking demonstrations; to language courses, chat groups and museum tours.  

The Virtual Social Centre is a subscription-based platform with government funding available for eligible clients.

For more information, click here

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