This article has been amended to show Australian Venue Co has entered into the leasehold and not bought the Criterion Hotel.

Australian Venue Co (AVC) has entered into a leasehold for the Criterion Hotel in Yarrawonga, Victoria.

AVC CEO Paul Waterson said the historic venue, which includes a public bar, bistro and TAB and is best known for its outdoor dining, with a deck overlooking Lake Mulwala, is a an exciting addition to the group’s portfolio.

“After the events of 2020, we’ve seen that people value their country pubs more than ever,” Waterson said.

“AVC will continue to acquire hotels in locations where there is an opportunity to give these pubs a new lease on life. We let our local leaders take the reins with these projects, to make sure the result is a pub that’s for the community, by the community.”

AVC Area Manager, Bart Furst, said the pub’s re-opening is highly anticipated in Yarrawonga.

“The Criterion has been closed since early 2020, so we’re really excited to breathe some new life into it and bring it back to the town,” he said.

The group is currently hiring for Criterion Hotel, including Venue Manager and Head Chef roles. Furst said he is aiming to build a team of 40 staff before re-opening, and that he prefers to hire locally.

AVC’s portfolio now comprises nearly 180 unique and individual venues across Australia and New Zealand.

The group said its approach is to encourage local leadership and to tailor venues to local community tastes, supported by the group’s centralised support office, including HR, finance and marketing. Settlement on Criterion Hotel is anticipated in early February.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of TheShout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both TheShout and Bars and Clubs.

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