STORY AND PICTURES BY RICHARD CORNISH
“There used to be over 30 pubs between Daylesford and Blampied,” says brewer David Gill with a sense of excitement. “Most were shacks. Back in the 19th century there were four brewers in town,” says Gill, the co-founder of The Daylesford Brewing Company. “I want to bring brewing back to town.”
The gutsy 31 year old has bought the former gold rush era pub The Golden Fleece (later known as the Fire Brigade Hotel) in Vincent Street, adjacent to the Bendigo Bank. While there hasn’t been a beer poured here for over 60 years, his aim is to renovate the old drinking hole and return her to her former glory including the establishment of an artisanal brewery.
Gill is Sydney born with a background in chemistry and environmental science. Like many of the new wave of small brewers, he started toying with a Cooper’s home brew kit. He fell in love with a Daylesford woman, Jessica Holmes, now also his business partner, and moved back to her hometown.
They knew they wanted to brew in Daylesford and started brewing with well-known teams such as Temple Brewing in Brunswick East, Cavalier in Derrimut, and Fury and Son in Keilor East. “We wanted to have an established brand that people knew and loved,” says Gill. He follows in the footsteps of many young brewers and other business people who develop the brand to kickstart the bricks and mortar business.
The pair had been living in Daylesford when the old pub came up for sale. They dug deep and bought the old beauty. To understand the beer culture of the region Gill and Holmes have dug through the records and literature to get a grip of what people were drinking on the gold fields. “Water is the main ingredient in beer,” explains Gill. “The country around here is known for its water which would have given the brews a real point of difference,” he says. “And that is something we will continue to do in the future.”
For the time being you can try Daylesford Brewing Co.’s Pale Ale, Golden Ale, India Pale Ale and Porter at The Lakehouse, The Farmers Arms, Daylesford Hotel, Kookla, Glenlyon General Store, Bridge Hotel Castlemaine and Catfish Thai
Restaurant in Ballarat.
Daylesford Brewing Co.