ONE of Port Fairy's iconic buildings could get a new lease on life with publicans planning to bring a distillery and micro brewery to the town.
Victoria Hotel owners Andrew Blake and Dianne Bradley lodged a planning application last week to use Drill Hall for the venture.
The 1874 Bank Street heritage-listed building was built as livery stables and used as a garrison, it also had lives as a shooting range, a basketball court and AC/DC played there in the 1970s. More recently the hotel has used it as a conference and luncheon facility.
Mr Blake said the distillery and brewery could produce spirits such as rum and gin, and brew cider and beer, while the space could host events and include a retail offering.
He said the Drill Hall was under utilised, and the venture would draw in tourists.
"We have a heap of tourists in Port Fairy and it would bring a heap more," Mr Blake said.
"If we have function we might have 300 people there one week, then nothing. Where this this retail facility will be open five or six days a week," he said.
The venture could be an investment of up to $500,000 and employ up to six new full-time staff.
"The majority of our product will be sourced locally as far we can," Mr Blake said.
Port Fairy planning consultant Chris Loorham said the planned upgrade would respect the building's heritage values and aimed to "breath life" into it.
"The town could come to appreciate the building more, compared to the ad-hoc use it gets now," he said.
Moyne Shire Council chief Bill Millard said the council was committed to encouraging and supporting growth of local business, and had received the planning application.
"We are currently liaising with the applicant to determine what further information is required to support the application," he said.
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