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Bright Brewery celebrates 15th anniversary

15 years ago this week, four friends opened the doors to a small tin shed on Bright’s Great Alpine Road, and the Bright Brewery we know and love today was born.

But Bright Brewery’s 15th Anniversary Party, planned for this Saturday, June 12, has now fallen victim to Victoria’s ongoing COVID restrictions.

After the toughest year on record with bushfires and then COVID forcing the Brewery to close its doors for nearly six months of 2020, owner and founder Scott Brandon was looking forward to celebrating the longevity of his iconic brewery with a huge anniversary bash.

But Victoria’s latest COVID outbreak and ongoing restrictions, means the party, like many other events, can’t go ahead.

“We’re obviously disappointed that we can’t celebrate with our friends and family and those who were instrumental in the success of Bright Brewery,” Scott said. “But we’re grateful that we’ll be open again and we’ll look forward to celebrating with our local friends and visitors from regional Victoria.”

The Brewery now plans to hold a small locals-only celebration with the big party put on ice until restrictions ease.

In honour of its milestone celebration, Bright Brewery will release its limited-edition Pioneer Rum Barrel Aged Stubborn Russian Imperial Stout – named in honour of the brewery’s first ever beer, Pioneer Ale – next week.

The beer will be available online, with free shipping for all Victorians, and from the Brewery Door.

Family-owned and fiercely independent, Bright Brewery has spent the past 15 years championing its beautiful hometown through fantastic beer experiences.

The Brewery remains at the heart of the Bright community, running a successful Locals’ Club, playing free live music on Sunday afternoons, pouring more than $35,000 in sponsorship to the local community every year.

Scott, who founded the brewery with his late wife Fiona Reddaway and two friends, lives just minutes from the Brewery with his three teenage daughters, two of whom also work in the business.

As a founding member of the High Country Brewery Trail, which aims to market the Victorian High Country as a serious craft beer region, Bright Brewery plays a major role in promoting tourism to the area.

And over the past 15 years, Bright has continued to be a pioneering leader of Australia’s independent craft beer industry, leading the way in sustainability, innovation and creativity.

In 2019, Bright’s Hazy Razor Witbier was named the Champion European Style Beer in Australia at the Independent Beer Awards.

Also in 2019, Bright was inducted into the Victorian Tourism Hall of Fame after being named Victoria’s Best Brewery for three years in a row from 2017 to 2019 – a feat Scott is particularly proud of.

“Being recognised as a leader by Victoria’s tourism industry for all the work we do in promoting Bright and the High Country meant the world to us,” Scott said.

“We believe what is good for Bright is good for Bright Brewery and vice-versa. We are really proud of our contributions to the tourism industry and continue to champion our area through delicious beer, unforgettable adventures and embracing everything our region has to offer.”

With a new multi-million dollar production facility opening in 2018, Bright was firmly focused on its future but things took a drastic turn in January 2020, when bushfires decimated Bright’s busiest tourist season and COVID forced the brewery to close shortly afterwards.

But Bright rose the challenge of creating a COVID-friendly business and, within 24 hours, had pivoted its entire business to a direct-to-consumer model, offering free home delivery, home-delivered hot meals locally, and even freshly poured beers.

“We delivered hot meals around Bright, and we set up a pop-up bar in a refrigerated warehouse in Melbourne and spent many weeks pouring our fresh beers into growlers and delivering them around Melbourne,” Scott said.

And when the High Country Brewery Trail’s annual collaboration brew day – a major fundraiser for the Trail’s marketing efforts – was banjaxed by COVID, Bright put their hands up to lead an online campaign to promote the High Country around Australia.

“We bought more than 240 cases of beer from all the other High Country Brewers and we packed and delivered mixed cases of beer all over Australia,” Scott said.

This was one of two High Country Brewery Trail-specific campaigns Bright led in 2020, with plans for another later this year.

Brews News Editor Matt Kirkegaard first visited Bright Brewery in 2008 and said this support of its local community was what made Bright a leader in its industry.

“One of the things we celebrate with Australian craft and independent small brewers is the contribution they make to their local community, the way they support their local community and the way their community supports them and it’s been wonderful to see that Bright Brewery has grown and, with it, so has the support for the local area,” he said.

“We see the employment that they create, the investment that they create in the local area, that is what independent brewing is all about.

“To the team at Bright Brewery, and to Scott, cheers and congratulations for all you do to make indie beer, and the community of Bright, better.”

Bright Brewery Timeline

2003: Brewery idea conceived by Scott Brandon, Fiona Reddaway, David Cocks and Julia Street (nee Cocks); land bought on Bright’s Great Alpine Road for future venue

2004: Purchased German copper brewery from Japan

2005: Brewed first beer (Pioneer Ale) at Jamieson Brewery, Mansfield; opened small bar in Wills St, Bright

2006: Small Bright Brewery venue, with outdoor seating only, opened on Great Alpine Road; first beers brewed onsite (Hellfire Amber Ale)

2009: Fiona & Scott become sole owners

2013: Venue expanded from 162sqm to 752sqm

2014: Fiona passed away after battle with stomach cancer; purchased land for production facility

2016: Purchased land next to venue for future expansion, taking venue space to 2600sqm

2018: New production facility ‘Fred’s Shed’ (in honour of Fiona) commissioned

2019: Named Victoria’s Best Brewery 3 years in a row; inducted into Tourism Hall of Fame

2020: Bushfires and COVID shut venue for 6 months

2021: 15th Anniversary

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