It’s Woodend’s shout: expanded brewhouse delivers new jobs and tourism

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Please note: Images in this article were taken before current COVID-19 safety measures were in place.

WATCH THE VIDEO: About halfway between Melbourne and Bendigo is the idyllic village of Woodend. We visited this week to toast the expansion of Holgate Brewhouse, bringing craft beers and new jobs to the Macedon Ranges. 

The family-owned Holgate Brewhouse is the brainchild of Paul and Natasha Holgate, who had the idea for their business while on holiday in the US in 1997 when they came across the small craft brewing industry and were inspired to start their own enterprise.  

Two years later they began operating from their Woodend backyard and selling craft beer, before they ventured into hospitality and tourism when they took over the town’s historic Commercial Hotel in 2002.  

The original building, constructed in 1896, has been home to their brewing operations ever since, along with a dedicated outlet and cellar door for their beer. Since 2013, the Holgate beer brand has been exported to the Philippines, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand and Singapore.

A Victorian Government investment to expand their venue was unveiled this week, showing off the new Holgate Brewhouse visitor discovery centre. Featuring a reception and check-in area for guests of the hotel, a tasting tap-room, views of the brewhouse, tours and an interactive visitor experience including a history of Holgate Brewhouse. The expansion will also support the Holgate family in employing up to 15 new workers, as well as indirectly welcoming 60,000 additional visitors to Woodend each year.

This follows upgrades which included a state-of-the-art German-made brewing system and equipment, which is a first in the Australian craft beer brewing sector and will increase the operations’ brewing capacity and improve taste consistency.

The project is the second stage of a three-part vision for the brewhouse’s growth and also includes a Macedon Ranges Wine Hub and soon to be Calder Corridor Craft Beer Trail tourism experience.

The $4.185 million project was supported by a $1.5 million grant through the Regional Tourism Infrastructure Fund and is set to stimulate the local economy by $1.87 million in visitor spending each year.  

Watch the video to learn more.