Bright Brewery is celebrating its third consecutive gold award in the Wineries, Breweries and Distilleries category at the RACV Victorian Tourism Awards last week.
The hat-trick has earned Bright entry into the Hall of Fame, which marketing and promotions coordinator Laura Gray said was a huge achievement and something the brewery had been working towards since winning their second gold in 2018.
“For us as a brewery we’re really proud to have won this award, its recognition of the hard work, not only that we’ve put in as a team for the brewery, but also the effort, time and work that we’ve put into the local community and region,” she said.
Bright supports the local community through initiatives like its co-working bursary, football club sponsorship, and support of local cancer charities, and tourism through its sponsorship of the national 5Zero gravel bike challenge and programmes to promote beer tourism in a region which is primarily known for wine.
“Supporting those events and organisations is really important to us,” Gray explained.
“It’s traditionally a really strong wine and winery region, and people are surprised to learn that there are nine High Country breweries within pretty close proximity to each other, and we want people to start coming here for the beer as well as the wine.
“We’re a founding member of the High Country Brewery Trail, and we run a festival called Darker Days, it’s a big collaboration with breweries, you would think they might be competition but we all work really closely together to promote brewery tourism in the north east.”
Gray said it was a win that was close to their hearts as well.
“Scott Brandon started Bright with his late wife Fiona Reddaway in 2005 and the Tourism Awards were a big passion project of Fiona’s.
“She passed away in 2014 and that’s why we continued it in her honour. The Hall of Fame was a particular goal of hers and Scott is really proud to have achieved that for her.”
Gray said with the changing demographic of tourists, Bright had an opportunity to tap into a whole new audience, and build on the growing popularity of adventure sports in the region.
“Historically Bright was really only visited by older people and young families who come in summer to stay at the caravan parks,” Gray explained.
“Bright is now a really popular all-year round destination, with adventure tourism really being one of the bigger drivers.
“Mountain biking; trail running; paragliding; they’re all the sports we at the brewery like to get involved in and support, which is why we hold so many events and sponsor them.”
Following its entry into the Hall of Fame, Bright will also be going onto the Australian Tourism Awards, which are being held in March next year.
“We got silver in 2017 and missed out last year, so our short term goals is to take home a prize at the Australian Tourism Awards in March, and after that we might have a break – putting this together is a huge process.”
She said that there were real benefits to businesses and the region in supporting and getting involved in the Victorian Tourism Awards, which Bright also sponsors as a drink supplier along with Grand Ridge Brewery.
“The main crux of the programme is to show how you and your business help drive tourism in the region, bring tourists to town and improve the tourism offering in your town, so to Bright, the wider High Country region and the whole of Victoria.
“It’s really important to help support these awards, they encourage businesses to be as great as they can be and that’s what it’s done for us.
“Bright and the North East very much rely on the tourist dollar so we’re really glad to play our part in that and be recognised for it.”