Born about 10 miles from the Tavern in 1929, Mel Jurd purchased the Wollombi Wine Saloon in 1957. Legend has it that Mel, in his efforts to keep costs down and revenues up would save all the leftovers from the night before and pour them into a single container. This becames Dr Jurds Jungle Juice, which has remained the trademark for the establishment ever since. Experience the infamous Jungle Juice – or take one home – at the Wollombi Tavern.DrJurds.com
In the picturesque Wollombi Valley, nestled near Australia’s Hunter Wine Region, stands the Wollombi Tavern, home to the famed Dr. Jurds Jungle Juice. The story of this unique brew is closely tied to Mel Jurd, a local entrepreneur who was born just 10 miles from the tavern in 1929. In 1957, Mel made a pivotal move in his life by acquiring the Wollombi Wine Saloon, which would later become a legendary spot in the region.
Mel Jurd, known for his resourcefulness and innovative spirit, devised a unique method to boost his business while minimizing waste. Each night, he collected the leftover wines and spirits from the tavern and combined them into a single container. This practice, initially a pragmatic solution to reduce waste, inadvertently led to the creation of Dr. Jurds Jungle Juice, a beverage that quickly became the establishment’s trademark.
The Wollombi Tavern, where Mel’s creation came to life, is a historic site in its own right. Surrounded by majestic 19th-century sandstone buildings, the tavern sits at a strategic crossroads along the Great North Road, a route historically connecting Sydney to the Upper Hunter. The tavern’s rustic charm and historical significance make it a captivating destination for visitors.
Mel’s inspiration for Dr. Jurds Jungle Juice was partly drawn from a wartime concoction used by soldiers – a potent blend of port and brandy. Mel’s experiments with various brewing techniques and ingredients, including muscat, sherry, and occasionally blackberry, resulted in the unique and sought-after Jungle Juice. This special brew, known for its distinct flavor and character, is exclusively available at the Wollombi Tavern, drawing visitors from near and far.
As time went on, Mel Jurd transitioned from being known as ‘Dr’ to ‘Friar’, further exploring his entrepreneurial ventures by operating a local restaurant before eventually retiring. However, his legacy in Wollombi remained through his famous Jungle Juice.
Today, the Wollombi Tavern is not just a place for a refreshing drink but a portal to a bygone era. It represents the ingenuity and spirit of the Australian bush, encapsulated in the story of Mel Jurd and his Jungle Juice. Visitors to the tavern can enjoy this unique beverage, steeped in local history, and become part of the continuing story of Dr. Jurds Jungle Juice, a true Australian legend.
Infamous Libations | DrJurds.com