A pub that once had no beer now has its own label to celebrate its history
THE Aussie Hotel on the corner of Fryer Street and Maude Street has a long history that dates back to 1895 when the streets of Shepparton were still unmade and the vehicles on the road were all being drawn by horses.
Fifty years later, in 1944, Tom Phillips took ownership at a time when beer was hard to get and when it was available, it was rationed to two bottle per man.
Tom’s five boys and daughter ran the pub, serving the local farmers who had come in to sell their stock or wool clips or were down from Queensland to pick the fruit and had drifted into the pub to line up their beers before six o’clock closing.
The façade of the Hotel was grand, even in those days when heritage buildings abounded but behind the façade was perhaps less grand.
A couple of bars run by the boys and an area out the back with a sand base fondly designated the beer garden where women could wait in the heat or the cold and drink a shandy. The bars in those days were men only affairs and the wives would send their kids in to get their dads while the barman gave the kids raspberry crisps to delay them.
The Phillips family ran the pub for 35 years, eventually selling it in 1979.
It was due to this connection with the hotel that Paul Tsorbaris, the current owner, had the idea to have his own beer on tap that he named Phillips Lager. A mid strength beer that is full flavoured.
Paul Phillips, the grandson of Tom maintains his connection with the industry running his own vintner business, Phillips Cellars, in Corio St.
Over the years Paul Tsorbaris has taken the pub to a new level of excellence, undertaken major renovations of the building as any of his regular patron would know since it is now one of the towns predominant meeting places.