There was an atmosphere of excitement as patrons downed their first schooner at Picton’s iconic George IV Inn.
Owners Ross Robinson and Adam Cryer along with managers Peta and Brett Cohen welcomed customers through the doors on Wednesday morning.
The beer was served cold and many patrons commented on how nice the pub looked after the renovation.
Picton local Derek Slinger was the first to take a sip of beer at the bar in more than 500 days.
“I am stoked the pub is open,” Mr Slinger said. “I put off going to Queensland today because I didn’t want to miss the opening.
“The pub looks wonderful and the beer tastes excellent. It was served cold.”
The owners said they were "super excited” to see the pub open for business.
“The fruit of our labor and hard work has paid off,” Mr Robinson said.
“I am looking forward to see what today brings.”
Mr Cryer said the main challenge had been working with everyone to restore the pub to its former glory and enhance it further.
“We want the pub to be a place for families and we are excited for the future development of the pub,” he said.
“Every piece of wood and panel was removed, dried, replaced, recycled or repaired.
“When we bought the pub, we thought we could just fix the wiring but we had to rewire the whole pub and re-plumb it all and get a new beer system.
“This ensures the pub will be around for another 100 years.”
Two front bars, TAB room, pokie room, courtyard and accommodation are now open.
Manager Peta Cohen said she was “ecstatic” to be behind the bar again.
The Cohens were the licencees before the pub was closed after it was inundated with stormwater last June.
“We are back doing what we love and I’m looking forward to seeing who will walk through the doors today,” Mrs Cohen said.
“I missed being at the George because the pub is so special.
“We were out of our element with the building side of the restoration and we learnt a lot during the process.
“I am excited to see stage two start because Ross and Adam want to carry on with a similar vision to what we had before the pub closed.
“I am immensely proud to see the pub rebuilt to its former glory because it is a special part of the town.
“I will never forget the support we have received from the community.”
Mrs Cohen said she was looking forward to hearing the Sunday entertainment again and talking with locals.
Mayor Judith Hannan said she would be back at the pub for dinner this evening.
“I am keen to see the pub packed again,” she said.
“I am pleased council staff worked with the owners to get the work done.
“The George’s reopening is a great outcome for the whole shire.”
Hume MP Angus Taylor said it was “absolutely fantastic” to see the pub open again.
“What the community lost during the storm was upsetting and the community rallied,” he said.
“The reopening of the pub feels like one of the last milestones for the town.
“It is fantastic to see the investment that has gone into the George. I am sure it will be well patronised.”
The food truck’s sous chef Harry Houbert said the food would be “nothing flash” but it would be good quality with decent portion sizes.
“We will serve chilli dogs, burgers, kebab skewers, corn and more,” he said.
“The meat and vegetables will come from local suppliers.
“We are as ready as we can be for all the patrons. I hope we meet their expectations.”
The owners said they would lodge the development application for stage two of the restoration next week.
Stage two will include a new kitchen and more dining and seating options.
The owners hope stage two will be completed in February 2018.