Romsey lager to fill pub’s void

Romsey may no longer have its pub but that hasn’t stopped a new flow of local lager.
Benjamin Holmes and Shannon Wright are soon to release a beer that takes inspiration from their home town and was developed exclusively for regional and rural Victoria.
“We know the town inside and out and we’ve pushed heavily to get involved to bring something out here. People have been excited. There’s obviously a need and a demand and now it’s just a matter of how we go about it,” Benjamin said.
The two locals were among hundreds of residents devastated to see Romsey Hotel shut for the last time in 2017 and, while they couldn’t reboot it themselves, they set about finding a new way to help restore the town’s social scene.
“Brewing our own beer is something we’ve been doing for a number of years but we thought we’d better have a fair crack and start brewing seriously. Now the town’s backing us to do it,” Benjamin said.
With spare time during the coronavirus pandemic, the pair spent months perfecting their recipe and technique for a clean, crisp lager suitable for a distinctive clear bottle.
Respecting their roots, the beer was named after the iconic Daly Bridge on Romsey Road, which also features in the brand logo.The buzz has already spread beyond the Macedon Ranges with many regional Victoria venues seeking them out to stock the new brew.
They already have 30 stockists and have partnered with Holgates Brewhouse in Woodend to assist with the first batch which will officially launch in two weeks.
But the pair says their lager will not grace shelves in inner metropolitan areas – and for good reason.
“We’re trying to get a bit of backing for the town and support the people from this region,” Benjamin said.
“Nearly every licensed venue in Romsey is stocking Daily Lager, which is kind of cool. That’s the same for Lancefield, Riddells Creek and Gisborne.
“When people go out for birthdays or weddings, or back home, they can drink a Daily and it will be a little bit different and more exclusive.”At its peak, the Romsey area is thought to have had about 18 hotels, serving as a stop-off on the way to the Bendigo goldfields.
“Every second building used to be a pub or a hotel, so it’s pretty sad that we’re now one of the only towns in Australia that doesn’t have one,” Benjamin said.
“The pub in Romsey used to be the heart of the town so you’d go there to see people you hadn’t seen in a long time or people that you’d see every day, go there to talk about the good times, the bad times and everything in between, so it’s very much a social thing,”
“Nowadays pubs are seen as a good thing for mental health and somewhere people can go and enjoy and socialise and get away for a break. I think you’re seeing the flow-on effect of that now that they are closed and locked up.”
Over the next 12-18 months the business duo will be exploring options to take up a permanent residence in Romsey in the form of a brewhouse.
Shannon said they were keen to create the next Stone and Wood Brewery – a Byron Bay hot spot.
“People come from all over just to go there. It’s got a good energy – we want to capture a similar culture and feel. We really want to create something the town is proud of and bring people to this area,” he said.

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