Gerry Ryan, the mogul behind Michelton Wines, the Prince Hotel, Gumbuya World and Jayco Caravans, has unveiled his latest project: a lakeside brewery, distillery and restaurant in Nagambie, at the southern end of the Goulburn Valley, in Victoria's north.
Ryan has had a soft spot for Nagambie since buying land there 20 years ago to raise horses, says son Andrew, the managing director of both Michelton Wines and the Nagambie Brewery and Distillery. "The more he went up there, the more he became immersed in the town and the community," Andrew says.
The Ryans, who bought Michelton Wines in 2011, realised the region lacked a brewery and distillery and decided to convert three of their adjoining properties.
The venue, designed by Melbourne architecture firm Six Degrees, features a brewery, a bar called the Distiller's Den (with viewing portholes into the brewery), a dining room and a second adjoining cafe called Ma Forbes Kitchen.
Most of it opened in late February, although the brewery is still two weeks from full operation, and Ma Forbes won't open until April. Plenty of local beers and wine are available in the interim.
Dan Hawkins (the Prince Hotel, Michelton Wines) is on board as executive chef. The menu features starters such as wagyu pastrami and crispy chilli squid, bigger dishes including burgers and wood-fired pizzas, and American smokehouse classics such as barbecue baby back pork ribs.
Aside from providing a beautiful space for locals to eat and drink in, Gerry Ryan's aim is to provide a hub for the community to showcase the region's produce and other natural assets such as Lake Nagambie, which can be seen from the venue's broad timber deck.
Open Wed-Sun noon-late.
295-299 High Street, Nagambie, 03 7019 8170