New plan brewing in Bendigo

Sharon Kemp | Bendigo Weekly | 14-Dec-2017

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Mel Church and Doug Brooke are planning big. Photo: ANDREW PERRYMAN
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BROOKES is already making beer in Bendigo, but the brewer wants people to be able to experience being in a brewery while sampling the product or eating lunch.


In a first for Bendigo, Brookes Beer owner Doug Brooke has plans to build on Matchett Drive in East Bendigo what amounts to a cellar door and eatery, drawing on the thriving craft beer scene in the United States for inspiration.


Its cellar door was open until production took over the entire floor of their existing Mayfair Park brewery.


As well as the appeal of a new venue, co-owner Mel Church is hoping increasing demand for specialities to the region – food and beverages – will power an interest in the venture.


The brewer has focussed on selling its beer in local pubs and bottle shops, pulling back from the interstate market which added costs but not always consistent custom.


“People are much more interested in buying things that are local,” Mr Brooke said, adding that the trend had led to an exponential rise in the number of micro breweries opening in Australia.


Of the 530 breweries in Australia, 200 are less than two years old, he said.


It was not a pub that Brookes was planning to offer, but more of an inclusive experience with a lunch menu for East Bendigo’s industrial workers as well as room for events or meetings and a place to have coffee.


“It won’t be just a place to drink, but more of a social hub,” Mr Brooke said.


Plans lodged with the City of Greater Bendigo show more than three quarters of the 500-square-metre building will be taken up with beer production, packaging and cool rooms.


If its application is approved, and subject to builders’ availability, the new brewery could be open by next spring.

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