Red Hill Brewery has announced the closure of the cellar door and café restaurant operation attached to their brewhouse in Red Hill South, Victoria.
Owners Karen and Dave Golding will cease the food and drink service aspect of their business on July 22, closing the gates following their Winter Secret Stash weekend, to allow a greater focus on their beer and family.
The reason is the overwhelming impact of juggling a brewing business combined with hospitality and tourism whilst raising a young family, all in the one place.
“Running the restaurant takes a huge amount of energy, leaving us very little for family time,” Karen told Australian Brews News.
“We really want to focus more on our beer but things like rostering, team meetings and even just finding a dishwasher make it very difficult to focus on the other important aspects of the business.”
A recent family holiday to Europe and England, returning to where Dave and Karen were first inspired to start their own brewery, has given them a renewed vigor for brewing the best craft beer. They brought back with them new ideas for English style real ales and flavoursome Belgian beers, something hinted at by last month’s limited release of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee British IPA. However, with so much of their time and resources dedicated to the brewery’s on-site cellar door and restaurant, serious consideration had to be given to changing their business model in a way that would allow them to advance their brewing. The decision, a long time in the making, was to sacrifice the restaurant and the site’s walk-up bar and shop.
The small restaurant has been a favourite lunch stop for many visitors to the Mornington Peninsula region over the last seven years. A feature of the brewery since it opened for business in 2005, the Red Hill Brewery dining experience was often applauded for their use of local produce and the food’s compliment of the in-house beers. It has featured on a number of tv magazine shows, such as Mercurio’s Menu and Getaway, as well as national newspapers. The brewery and cafe also provided a welcomed point of difference for tourists to the wine-centric region.
As someone who has enjoyed many comforting meals and beers at the Red Hill Brewery, this is very sad news yet an understandable necessity in the continuing success of the business.
It was the Red Hill menu that introduced me to the delight of traditional Welsh rarebit, cooked with beer and the spicy kick of paprika. Beer rarebit is now a regular winter pleasure at home. Their popular steak sandwich was always a treat when paired with their Scotch Ale. Just last year Red Hill installed a beer engine handpump and started experimenting with the cask conditioning of their seasonal ales. The bar’s handpump delivered a whole new sensation to enjoying their Imperial Stout at room temperature, with a smoothness and bitterness that made drinking this 8% winter beer by the pint dangerously easy.
I have often marveled at how their small business was able to do so much with their menu and in providing excellent on-site hospitality when it was supported by the current small margins of Australian craft beer. It is now clear that they were actually struggling under the weight of their breadth.
At the heart Red Hill Brewery is a brewing business and beer is their focus. Karen and Dave have assured us that this change will lead to even more enjoyment and broader horizons for their beers. Firstly, they will work on improving the consistency of their highly regarded beers, as well as possibly adding more beers to their core range and seasonal releases. They are also finalising a distribution partnership to help send their beers across the country whilst on the hunt for a new brewer to train so they continue their beer production at full steam.
Importantly, the closure of the cellar door and restaurant may not be permanent. Whilst regular Open Days will allow visitors to return to the Red Hill Brewery in the immediate future, the Goldings will explore new opportunities for their cellar door and cafe. One potential option is to lease the premises to be run by other passionate beer loving hospitality professionals.
A tough call has been made and I commend the Goldings on their brave and honest decision. Many beer lovers will be excited to hear that this essentially means more Red Hill beer for everyone, but those of us who have visited the brewery will always hope that the restaurant will return in a way that will work for everyone of Red Hill.
RED HILL BREWERY TO CLOSE CELLAR DOOR AND FOCUS ON BREWING BEER!
After many years of soul searching, Karen and David Golding of Red Hill Brewery have decide to close the cellar door and restaurant part of their brewery business.
The key reason for the decision is to focus on the core business of brewing amazing beers.
Living on site with the business so close is high impact and all consuming for us and our family’s life and something we want a break from.
We believe this will give us more time, energy and space to focus on our beers and brewing and the future direction for our business. Our immediate plans include;
- Using our newly purchased bottling line to maximise our production of beer and improve the consistency of our product
- New beers/range being launched based on our love of all things British & Belgian
- New packaging
- Increased distribution with our beers being available in more places than ever including an announcement shortly about an exciting new partnership with a distributor
- Hiring a brewer
- Partnership with local business to ensure an outlet for our beers to be sampled, enjoyed and purchased to take home
We will take this time out to evaluate our options for the future which include
- seeking new opportunities for a better cellar door/ visitor experience in the future and/or
- leasing of the premises to passionate beer loving hospitality professionals
We are very proud of what we created here and have worked with many fantastic people. The enthusiasm all our customers have for our beers is what inspires us. So that makes it a pretty conflicted choice for us. However, to focus on our brewing operation and future direction, we feel it is the best way forward.
We plan to hold many open days, and special events so encourage everyone to stay connected via our e-newsletter so we can always do a shout out whenever these are happening. Checkout our website for the signup sheet: www.redhillbrewery.com.au
Thank You To all our staff and customers who we are very grateful to, and hope will stay in touch with us and keep on drinking Red Hill.
The last weekend we will be open is 21/22 July in conjunction with our annual Secret Stash festival.
For further information, contact Karen Golding, Red Hill Brewery, 5989 2959 and [email protected]