Earlier this year, in the wee hours of the morning on Friday April 6, Ellerslie Hop Estate was ravaged by a fire that destroyed the farm’s major processing equipment, sheds and the majority of its 2018 crop.
Managing Director of Ellerslie Greg Croke said at the time, that he was most moved by the flooding sentiment and support from the brewing industry.
The “non-suspicious” fire left the estate flattened and looking like a “vacant block of land”.
Ellerslie Estate has been growing and supplying hops and hop products to the Australian and international brewing industry since 1932.
It’s responsible for large supplies of bittering hops Pride of Ringwood and Super Pride, as well as aroma varieties Astra and Melba.
Croke, who inherited the business from his grandfather and Father, said he’s confident in the rebuild and getting his products to market.
Construction will begin early next week, with all contractors signed up and ready to deliver the project well within Croke’s 330-day timeframe.
“All the builders and sub-contractors have been engaged, they’re aware of time frames and time lines and I’m confident that everyone can meet our targets,” Croke said.
“It’s a major achievement, we work in an amazing industry and the support that we have had from all sectors of the brewing industry from Australia and overseas has been inspirational.”
“A lot of work has been done by a lot of people.”
Croke believes that he is building a “state-of-the-art” Australian facility, which will be completed by February next year.
“We will be harvesting hops, we start stringing next week, we are confident that we will not let down the Australian brewing industry.”
“We won’t let people down, we owe it to the people that supported us.”
Croke said that he still gets phone calls from big and small breweries asking how they are out on the farm.
Over the next couple of months as things start coming together, Croke said he will start putting up photos for the people who’ve been interested along the journey.
“We’re about to become ridiculously busy,” Croke said.
“But, everyday is a good day, even when your farm does burn to the ground.”