Lord Nelson celebrates 175th anniversary
By Vanessa Cavasinni, editor Australian Hotelier
The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel, Sydney’s longest continually licensed hotel and Australia’s oldest pub brewery recently celebrated its 175th anniversary of the hotel and 30 years of the brewery component.
There is plenty of history within the confines of the heritage building of the Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel, which started out as the private residence of an ex-convict, William Wells in 1836. Wells operated the pub opposite his home from 1838 to 1841, at which time he sold that hotel and purchased a liquor license for his home and with some extensions and renovations turned into the Lord Nelson Hotel, named after the British naval captain, Lord Horatio Nelson.
In its more recent history, the current owners, including managing director Blair Hayden, purchased the hotel in 1986, renovated the hotel to bring the building back to its original aesthetic, and opened the first small brewery within a pub’s confines in Australia – all within the first year of operations.
The microbrewery has always made beers in the traditional British ale style, and in celebration of both anniversaries, The Lord Nelson Brewery has released their Dead Ahead beer, a golden British ale style beer that will be available for the rest of the year both on tap and in 330ml bottles.
The microbrewery was quite controversial when it was founded in 1986, as it was something that was unheard of in Australia at the time.
1) "Many stalwarts of the big two found it too much to comprehend, but a large following of what we were doing soon arose and the customers revelled in the excitement of malt-driven natural ales all different in appearance, flavour and with interesting hop aromas and varying bitterness levels. Their taste buds were awoken, and became suitably excited."
As for the hotel itself, Hayden says a lot of hard work and passion are behind the hotel's continued popularity on the hotel scene.
"My belief in The Lord's longevity is the perception that it never changes. It is a tricky thing to maintain standards and remain constant in the way a very old and significantly historical building and décor can remain the same.
"It takes a lot of work and indeed money to keep up appearances and retain the constant belief in good service, good food, good wines and indeed outstanding natural ales in the British tradition of ale brewing."
As for highlights, Hayden says that in his 30-year career at The Lord Nelson Hotel there have been many, but one stands out in particular.
1) "There have been many standout moments, however the pleasure in pioneering this wonderful industry to the state of choice, experimentation and excitement of the craft industry is the tops."