After more than a dozen years of serving, Darren Smith is looking forward to getting to the other side of the bar.
Smith and his wife Julie this week vacated the Commercial Hotel in Koroit, a place they have been the publicans of since March 2009.
"It's been long hours so it will be nice to able to enjoy time on the other side of bar, sit back and relax and have a beer or go out for a meal," Mr Smith said.
"It will be good to have that normality back but we will certainly miss it, it's been a great time in our lives."
The Commercial Hotel has played a bit part in the family life of the Smiths, with Darren and Julie's three children, James, Nicholas and Grace, spending much of their formative years living at the hotel.
The children did their bit working at the family business when called for, between becoming solid citizens through their community involvement at school, scouts and sporting endevours.
The example for the children of forging a strong connection with the community has been set by their parents, with the pub an integral part of life in Koroit.
"We have had great support from the Koroit community," Mr Smith said.
"The cricket, footy clubs, Lions, Probus, senior citizens, so many groups in town have been a great support.
"You get to know these people well, they become an important part of your life, some have become almost mother figures.
"To leave is sad and emotional, it's all the friendships we have made over the years in the pub."
The new licensees of the hotel are Lee-Ann and Jason McMahon, who have lived in Koroit for the past three years. This is the couple's first time in a hotel.
Ms McMahon plans to work full-time in the hotel while Mr McMahon will continue to work as a teacher, as well as part-time at the pub.
The hotel was sold at auction on July 7, with former Star of the West Port Fairy publican and now Moyne Shire councillor Damian Gleeson buying the building for $650,000.
The hotel's strong bar and meal trade made it an attractive property for Mr Gleeson to purchase.
"Damian knows Koroit is a growing community which obviously spiked his interest," Mr Smith said.
"He saw what we are all seeing, that Koroit is expanding, with the new King Street development, more businesses opening up, it's all positive."
Mr Smith said the current COVID pandemic had proven a testing time. He thanked the community for its support helping the hotel remain as a thriving business.
"We were lucky in one way that we were well established when it all hit, that solid foundation in the community helped us ride through the tough times," Mr Smith said.
To leave is sad and emotional, it's all the friendships we have made over the years in the pub.Darren Smith