Billson's Brewery

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NATHAN Cowan used to design drink labels – now he not only designs them but sells the contents as well.

Nathan and his fiancé Felicity Cottrill moved from Melbourne to Beechworth after buying the iconic Billson’s Brewery, complete with its unique and eye-catching towers.

The pair’s aim was to breathe life back into the old brewery, established in 1865, one of the oldest continuing beverage manufacturers in Australia.

“When we took over the brewery, it was running as Murray Breweries and making cordial,’’ Nathan said.

“We got our liquor license on Boxing Day and we have been making our own beer and cider.

“We have hired a head distiller and just released our first gin, with vodka, whisky and rum being the next things we will try.’’

The pair are passionate about the history of Billson’s Brewery and hired a local historian to provide an in-depth synopsis of the establishment.

“We came across a label from 1880 and we decided to go back to Billson’s cordial label,’’ he said.

“Another great thing is that the brewery taps into a local natural spring, so all our beverages are made using that spring water, which is really a point of difference.

“Beechworth is such a beautiful destination in itself and add to that a visit to a brewery that has a 140-year history is just great.’’

Nathan said the pair had made notable changes since they took over the reins 18 months ago.

“We really want people to gain the best possible experience when they come here, so we have a blacksmith on site as well as a traditional barber so visitors can have a beer while they are waiting for their hair to be cut.

“We have an underground gin and whisky bar as well as cordial tastings in the café.’’

Nathan said the pair had already hired 15 local people to work within the heritage brewery.