Top drop marks 20 years in business

By Jessica Micallef

Holgate Brewhouse is celebrating 20 years in business.

The Woodend brewery has come a long way since its inception in a backyard shed and co-founder Natasha Holgate said she was delighted they had reached this milestone.

“It’s awesome that over 20 years we’ve seen a huge interest in craft beer in the general population,” she said.

“It’s become a vibrant industry and I think it’s given people a lot of choice.”

Ms Holgate and her husband Paul Holgate started their brewery in May 1999 in Woodend.

“We started off by just putting up a shed at a property … we started brewing at home,” she said.

“In 2002, we took over the hotel in Woodend and at the time it was the Keatings Hotel. Then in 2006 we moved the brewery from home to the hotel.”

Ms Holgate said the brewery had become a drawcard in Woodend – attracting visitors from near and far.

“It’s actually manufacturing something in the heart of Woodend and it’s something everyone can enjoy,” she said.

To celebrate two decades in business the brewery is re-releasing its first beer, with a special twist on the original recipe.

“The first beer was an ESB, an extra special bitter,” Ms Holgate said. “So what we’re doing is, we’re making a bigger version – it’s higher in alcohol and we’re also putting it into a 500ml can.”

The special edition beer will be released during Good Beer Week, May 11-19.