Hospo CheckIn: Karen Golding

As Mornington Peninsula is considered part of Melbourne Metro area, like us in the city, they’re only just seeing a little light at the end of the COVID tunnel.

We checked in with Karen Golding, who with her husband David (pictured), owns and operates the much-loved Red Hill Brewery. 

  1. What has been the biggest challenge for your business in adapting to the changes in Red Hill?

Regarding business, I think for such a small business, having to become an expert on Stand-down, Jobkeeper, ATO, Measuring spaces, checklists, staff safety, Covid Plans, work permits, grants, just keeping up with the constant changing obligations. It’s a huge amount of additional compliance, and to get everything in place during the early days of the first lockdown was so tough.

Our unique challenge now is that the Mornington Peninsula is part of Metro lockdown, so here in Red Hill, we barely have anyone within 5km that can get takeaway from us!! So being in a rural area with some of the lowest case numbers ever in whole state, it’s really hard to support the big plan. It doesn’t make much sense when our area has NEVER had a case of COVID.

A lot of people think you are doing great because people are drinking more than ever, but with our venue closed, and most of our restaurants and pubs we supply also closed, and few people moving around the area, there’s not a lot of beer going anywhere.

  1. What has surprised you about yourself during this time?

I am enjoying not doing as much! Less running around, less scheduling, I think some amazing things have happened, enjoying walks with friends, getting heaps done around the property and enjoying the work and the reward. Whilst the kids would be better at school, the shift to online learning is interesting too, and I can see so much that’s possible with the kind of online learning and meetings that are now happening. And for the Brewery, we have setup an online shop and digital marketing program, which has really been working well.

We have been amazed by the support for locals, and I hope this continues. Also the move to online shopping…. Will we ever go back? 

People’s habits here have possibly changed by about 20 years in six months.

Getting great food from amazing restaurants as takeaway is probably my favourite thing about lockdown!!! I hope this stays.

  1. How are you, your family and your team?

We are OK, pretty good really. Definitely the family relations wax and wane.  I think overall its OK, luckily the schooling has worked well, it’s the social and activities with peers that is missed the most. 

We have plenty of times we have to all “go to our rooms” but we are doing some good things together with walks, movies and pets, and as a family we are much better now that in the first lockdown.

Our team have been great, everyone has a different circumstances, and they have all been happy to come to work, everyone has been flexible, and worked so hard, and been ready to do whatever is required relative to what stage of lockdown we are in!!!

We have undertaken a massive renovation of the property, the bar, menus, almost everything! And we were super excited to reopen in June and show it all off, which went brilliantly for that one week!

Now we have more new ideas, a few new beers going into cans and yet another relaunch happening, hopefully by late October!

But we are so used to everything changing at short notice, we aren’t making big plans, just ready for anything really.

Perhaps the big learning is the ability to ease up on ourselves, our expectations, it’s huge for me to let go of the plan and give in to the unknown, because I truly do not know what to plan for!!

But it has been a necessary part of the process for my own mental health to accept that there is no plan right now!!

Red Hill Brewery