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Doug and Jacqueline are co-owners of Shedshaker Brewing and The Taproom, located at The Mill complex in Castlemaine. For this dynamic duo, their business is not just about finessing the finest most innovative brew, it's about their unwavering contribution to the cultural vibrancy and well being of the local community.  There's a reason they started their business here. They take pride in collaborating with other makers at The Mill, rallying behind local artists, producers and farmers and sponsoring local events. 

During lockdown we miss the opportunity to walk into The Taproom and be welcomed by Doug and Jacqueline who create such a homely and down-to-earth atmosphere.  Nothing beats a Sunday arvo gig or Saturday night pub sing; both much-loved experiences that unite and inspire both locals and visitors. Even though COVID-19 has heavily impacted their business, they've been quick to adapt to ensure they can keep the creative community employed. They've set up Love Your Local - a series of gigs streamed online through their Facebook page.   Let's rally with them to support their business and our local musicians. 

For more information on Shedshaker and The Taproom visit their website

To check out their Love your Local series visit their Facebook page

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Tell us a little about yourselves

Doug: My background….well, I moved here 30 years ago from Melbourne via a few short years in Woodend and I’ve never looked back. I have had 40 years performing, recording and touring as part of rock band Hunters and Collectors, so having a place to escape to and call home has helped me keep my sanity intact! Prior to music I trained as a doctor, and in more recent years I have worked as graphic designer and web developer before rather unexpectedly becoming a brewery owner and operator. It makes for an interesting professional mix.

Jacqueline: I moved here 18 years ago and have local family connections which go back to the 1930s. I grew up on a dairy farm in the western district before living in firstly Melbourne and then Sydney. I have also had a mixed bag of professions having worked in the legal sector, publishing, film, hospitality and events. Since arriving in central Victoria I have worked extensively in community development specifically within the volunteer sector. I draw on all of these careers as owner operator of Shedshaker Brewing.

 

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What do you love about this place?

Doug: I moved here to send my daughter to the nascent Steiner School, and I love the incredible blend of sub-cultures here, everything from the hot rod community, to the creative community, the abundance of local producers and farmers. There is a strong and established commitment to sustainability and the environment. You can see it evidenced in the high number of solar panels, the interest in sustainable agriculture, the support for localised food production. I am really proud of this community. 

Jacqueline: I love the natural beauty - the wild spaces interspersed with farmland and orchards. I am grateful to our first nations people for their enduring patience and willingness to share their land, their stories, their culture and history.  And I cherish our more recent history as evidenced by the amazing historical buildings in the region. This is a very, very beautiful part of the country and I love sharing it with people.

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Tell us about Shedshaker Brewing and The Taproom

Doug: Shedshaker Brewing was originally founded by a long term friend of mine who had grown up in a family of home brewers. He invited us in as partners when the Taproom opened and things got very real, very quickly. Its a 7 day a week business with so many different aspects to it, from brewing and packaging the beer to running the bar, attending local markets and festivals, sponsoring community groups and conducting fundraisers and staging music, literary and art events at the Taproom. It's actually multiple businesses all rolled into one.

Our beers are a blend of old and new. We take tried, tested and loved brews from around the world and give them a modern twist. Our Celtic Red - possibly our most loved beer - is a traditional Irish recipe made with modern American hops. We have some great collaborations like our Espresso Black Lager which incorporates freshly roasted coffee beans from our neighbours at the Mill, Coffee Basics. We also make a Robust Chocolate Porter using fresh cacao nibs from boutique chocolatiers Caboose & Feve, also based here at the Mill. And we have a Hempathy Pale Ale which features locally grown hemp seed, which was originally commissioned for the inaugural National Industrial Hemp Conference.

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What does community mean for you?

Jacqueline: Castlemaine and surrounds is home to a lot of localised producers. I spent 10 years supporting the Mount Alexander Volunteer Network and my work here revealed the extraordinary “can do” attitude of our local community. If people want to see something happen, they don't sit back waiting for government to deliver. They step up and make it happen themselves. It's empowering to see the community in action.

We have essentially bought our personal passions into the Brewery through our program of music and events. We love our community and we love working with groups and other businesses from round the region. We have a commitment to creativity, community and collaboration which informs so much of what we do. We also recognise our responsibility as corporate citizens and we take fundraising and community sponsorship very seriously. We have supported a lot of local sporting and school groups and are active sponsors of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, Castlemaine’s community radio, the local Fringe Festival and the Castlemaine State Festival. It's an important part of giving back and supporting those who support us. 

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How have you pivoted the business during COVID19?

During COVID-19 our bar has been closed twice and we have lost a lot of our hospitality customers. Instead we have been engaging directly with our community, attending four local farmers' markets, three or four times a week. It's been a powerful opportunity to stay connected to our customers and to reach out to people who may not have tried our beer before. We have also moved a lot of our creative content online, hosting our Books at the Brewery events and broadcasting live music direct from the Taproom to our Facebook pages. We planned a celebration of local music entitled “Love your Local” months ago, dedicating the entire month of August to a showcase of local musicians. We managed one public performance, the very same day that new restrictions came in and forced us to close again. We remain committed to our performers however, and are continuing to employ them and give them an opportunity to play, live-streaming their performances direct from the Taproom every Friday and Sunday. We have to rally behind our creative folks and we have to look after our local producers. 

#Love your local.