Regenerating the rural township of Nagambie and attracting new visitors was the brief behind the reconstruction of lakeside hospitality offering, Nagambie Brewery and Distillery. Located on the foreshore of Lake Nagambie, a little over 90 minutes from Melbourne, the project brief was to transform an old police camp into a new hospitality precinct. Designed by award winning architectural firm Six Degrees, the result of the transformation is a stunning destination venue that enables locals and visitors to experience the region’s leading attraction, Lake Nagambie, which can be seen from the venue’s expansive deck.

The significant development, is owned by businessman Gerry Ryan, who wanted to bring a contemporary hospitality design to Nagambie which fitted with the style and history surrounding it. Six Degrees created a space that embraces charm and warmth while taking full advantage of the spectacular surrounding views.

The complete project, which was awarded a commendation in the Victorian Architecture Awards 2020, includes a brewery, the Distiller’s Den, a dining room, café and a whiskey bar featuring viewing portholes into the brewery. The walls of the main restaurant and whiskey bar are lined with Big River Group’s superior plywood product Armourpanel in Spotted Gum, which assisted in creating warm and authentic interior elements to work alongside the more contemporary finishes of the project.

Having worked on multiple projects with the leading timber supplier, Six Degrees knew it was the right product to deliver the desired aesthetic and as well as providing the durability required for the commercial space. “The client wanted the interior space to be textured with different finishes and they were looking for a certain result through warm and tonal materials which we knew Armourpanel could deliver,” says Dan Demant from Six Degrees Architecture.

“The versatility, stability and toughness of the plywood product was a great match for the brief as it’s able to withstand hard wearing areas while also delivering on visual aesthetics,” says Dan. Confidently Australia’s strongest plywood, Armourpanel has a unique construction method that sees each of its five layers of Australian hardwood sheets bonded together in a cross-ply manufacturing process to form a strong, solid, stable decorative panel.

Layered with texture, the inside space of the venue incorporates concrete, steel and brass as well as timber, with floor to ceiling windows that supply incredible views of the brewery and the surrounding lake. The architecture of the exterior pays a respectful nod to its heritage, with huge wooden barn doors and a classic white render, the new buildings blend subtly into their rural surrounds. Multiple outdoor deck areas allow for optimal enjoyment of the lake side setting and further complement the rustic charm of the interior.

The brewery describes its offerings as unpretentious and approachable just like its surroundings, everything is open and there is nothing to hide. The interior is set up for onlookers to view the master brewers at work through portholes in the stunning timber clad whiskey bar. This intimate space is unequivocally warm and inviting with the beguiling allure of natural timber connecting to all the senses. The walls of the room are clad entirely in Big River’s Armourpanel in Spotted Gum, the stunning and tonal material delivers depth and character while providing a charming experience for patrons to sit and enjoy the venue’s offerings. “The depth of colour and unique timber characteristics of each panel gave an excellent finish,” says Dan.

The decorative plywood from Big River offers simplicity, warmth and texture to create intimate and inviting environments, it is highly preferred by leading award-winning architects when designing residential or commercial interiors. Armourpanel’s face veneer panels are available in a range of native species including Blackbutt, Flooded Gum, Spotted Gum and Sydney Blue Gum, all maintaining the natural characteristics of the selected wood species including their unique grain structures. Dan continues, “We have specified Big River’s Armourpanel on many projects. It is such a beautiful product to work with and we have always been satisfied with their services and timber products, and quality and care of customer support in their sales and technical teams.”

Since its completion the Brewery has exceeded all expectations with regard to visitations, successfully encouraging locals and visitors to explore everything Nagambie has to offer with its stunning lakes, rivers and winery experiences while strengthening the region’s tourism industry and growing local jobs.