In the late 1860s, Mr Thomas Powell operated the Stawell Brewery in the Botanical Reserve (now Grampians Gate Caravan Park) on the corner of Sutherland and Burgh streets.
On his death, the brewery was taken over by Bryant and Cook and Co. and in 1879 Mr Henry Edhouse became a managing partner.
Mr Edhouse must have been quite a wealthy man as he also required the freeholds of existing hotels in Stawell, Rainbow and Natimuk. His last acquisition was the Bull and Mouth Hotel in Stawell (built 1907 and demolished in 1985).
Mr Edhouse was the brewer and on September 10, 1891, a government analyst stated the Stawell beers were of quality, made with the best materials and were free from all noxious substances.
The ales sold were: Grampians Prize Ale, Stawell Bitter Ale and Stawell Lager Ale and some reports say that they were all the same brew with different labels. Stout was also made by adding burnt sugar or caramel to a vat of ale.
One Christmas an experiment was done with the manufacture of a ladies beer, - it being much paler and guaranteed to be non-intoxicating. This was done by just adding plain water to a vat of ale. It sold for 3/6 a dozen.
Beer deliveries were a major part of the business and over the busy summer period deliveries were made to 27 hotels in Stawell every day, Deep Lead, Doctors Creek and Great Western once a week by lorry drawn by two horses and once a month by spring dray to Moyston.
Most housewives in Stawell and district made their own bread and the source of the yeast was from the brewery where it was sold for 3d or 6d a billy can.
As the large metropolitan breweries moved their interest into the country and with the closing of the smaller hotels, the pressure of competition caused the closure of the brewery in 1918.
Abbotsford Brewery bought the right to serve beer in all Bryant and Cook controlled hotels.
The machinery was dismantled and sold and so ended the Stawell Brewery.
Many names were associated with the brewery during its existence.
Some of the brewers were, Henry Edhouse, William Drever and Gene Fry.
Other names were Taylor, Miller, Monument, Turner and Cowman
It is on record also that a small brewery operated in Patrick Street, owned by Mr W. Marshall. In 1882 it was reported that the brewery has a splendid ale for sale either in bulk or bottle.
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