In recent years, Bendigo has punched well above its population size when it comes to spots to enjoy a good beer. The Dispensary began focusing on quality beer (and wine, spirits and food) in 2009 and has since been joined by the likes of The Cambrian, Flight Bar & Bottleshop and Handle Bar, all of them unique venues that give the city’s residents plenty of options when it comes to having a good time with an equally good beer in hand.
The city even boasts its own not-for-profit group of good beer evangelists, Bendigo Beer, which was born over beers at The Dispensary and has gone on to encourage local venues to understand craft beer better and improve the diversity of their offerings. Since 2014, the association has also run Bendigo On The Hop; a roving beer festival that takes place across the city and has been selling out earlier and earlier every year.
But, if your aim is to enjoy good beer at home, take an interesting six-pack to a barbecue or find one of your favourite brewery’s newest limited releases, Bendigo hasn’t had anywhere near the same number of options. Seeking to resolve that issue, Scott and Kylee Toll launched The Hop Supply Co midway through 2017 with the aim, as the name suggests, of keeping Bendigo’s beer lovers well supplied with lupulin-laced products.
Scott and Kylee’s passion for good beer was first fired at their local, The Cambrian, with the pub’s commitment to quality beer initially creating something of a problem for the couple. Finding the kind of beers they now wanted to seek out almost always involved a long drive to Melbourne; in fact, whatever the reason for them making the two-hour drive south, it would inevitably lead to some bottleshop detours along the way.
They decided to take things into their own hands and open their own bottleshop in McCrae Street. It’s one that stocks hundreds of beers, all of which – except for stouts and barleywines – are kept cold behind one of eleven fridge doors.
Mostly, The Hop Supply Co’s focus is directed squarely at the locally made and the independently brewed but limited releases and much-lauded beers from overseas also find a space on the bottleshop’s shelves. It’s a beer range that’s constantly on the move too, so if a new release is coming out of a Melbourne brewery expect it to find a home in Bendigo too.
Scott and Kylee’s love for stocking the local, the independent and the interesting is an ethos that extends beyond the beers and towards the spirit and wine selection too. The latter come from local vineyards, augmented by natural wines from across the country and small batch spirits that fill the shelves and have been moving just as quickly and changing just as often as the beers.
It’s a lovingly curated selection that, coupled with staff who know and enjoy the beers they are bringing in plus their regular in-store tastings, means Bendigo’s supply of hoppy beers (as well as every other style under the sun) is at an all-time high.