What started as a small home brewing venture founded by Paul and Tash Holgate in their backyard shed, Holgate Brewhouse has grown to become a nationally recognised brewery with a site capacity of six million litres.

As the brewery embarks on its 25th anniversary, the couple are celebrating the milestone by welcoming back old brewers to launch a special series of limited releases and collaborations.

Nestled in the Macdeon Ranges in Victoria, Holgate Brewhouse has grown to employ almost 40 people across production, sales and marketing, and hospitality, producing a range of classic and experimental beers distributed as far as Asia.  

Reflecting on the years gone by, Paul says: “When you say it out loud, 25 years is a long time to be in business. In any industry really, but particularly an industry like craft beer where both the producers and consumers are intensely passionate about the products.

“We are very proud to be one of the earliest small independent brewery start-ups in Australia. We put together our first business plan in 1997 and started brewing and selling in 1999, well before the term ‘craft beer’ was used.”

Natasha added to that sentiment, saying: “Our 25th anniversary is a great opportunity to celebrate and thank all our customers and staff who have supported us over the years. I can’t believe how much our business and the craft brewing industry has grown since 1999.”

Looking to mark the occasion, Head Brewer Chris Brady will be producing 25 new beers throughout the year in both kegs and cans, collaborating with a series of brewers who once worked at Holgate, including Nic Sandery from Molly Rose, Matt Ives from Aunty Jacks, Alex Carr from Noodledoof, Ian Morgan from CUB Development, and many more.

The first two releases of the year have been the NZ Hazy IPA, inspired by a pivotal trip to New Zealand taken by Paul and Natasha in the early days of the business which led them to buy their first brewing kit, and Kolsch, an original Mount Macdeon Ale.

As former brewers take Holgate Brewhouse back to its roots, Paul spoke about the opportunity to reunite over a mutual love of craft beer.  

“For the first almost eight years after starting up, all of the brewing was done by me and then, from 2007 on, the business took on trainee brewers and gradually built a multi-member production team as sales and capacity expanded.

“Over the past 25 years, a number of brewers currently employed in the industry have worked at Holgate – either getting their initial start as a trainee and progressing through the industry or coming to Holgate as an experienced brewer – and a few have gone on to start their own business.

“The collaborations between former brewers and Holgate Brewhouse is a celebration of the industry as a wonderful employer of good people, and showcases how the industry worldwide has come together to change the drinking habits for the better. Current Head Brewer, Chris Brady, who has been at Holgate for 10 years, will have a chance to reunite with many former colleagues to share their artistry, creativity and love of good beer.”

Throughout the year, Holgate Brewhouse will continue the celebrations through a series of tap takeovers across Australia, with major events also set to take place in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, and Woodend, the home of the brewery.

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