In 1865 Richard Otto Malcolm Holme, Bargara Brewing Company founder, Jack Milbank’s, Great Great Grandfather rode from his home in Naples to the Abruzzi mountains to rescue Mr. Charles William Moen. Moen an Author of note at the time, was taken hostage by bandits (Brigands) in an attempt to extort money from the Family. A sum of 8000 pounds was demanded.
Charles was held hostage for 4 months and while held at an Abbey in the mountains, Charles Moen fermented an orange vermouth for his captors under the guidance of The monks of the day who had mastered the production of this particular orange vermouth. The Abbey was converted into a prison between 1868 and 1993 and in the process all knowledge of the monks recipe disappeared. During his 4 months as a hostage , Charles Moen diligently documented the ingredients and process of production of the orange aperitif. Richard continued on to successfully deliver the ransom and save Mr. Moen, and on their return to Naples was given The Vermouth recipe and a chest of Silver in gratitude for saving his life.The recipe was stored in the silver chest for safe keeping. It was not until 1928 when Richard’s grandson, also named Richard (Rick) left Naples with the recently inherited silver (& recipe), he married in 1935 having no interest in pursuing banking with the family firm, and rather a career in Agronomy which he studied at Cambridge, UK and later started work with Imperial Chemical Industries, firstly in India working on Rubber plantations and later posted to Jamaica to improve sugarcane production. It is here that Rick’s family is raised until the end of WW2.Rick then moved to Kenya to establish ICI, where he later bought a coffee plantation, Amberley, which with his scientific knowledge made profitable, and sold for a reasonable profit. The coffee venture enabled Rick to purchase an Orange, tobacco and beef Estate in Wedza, Rhodesia. It is on this estate named Scorror in 1968 that the opportunity to utilise the 10 000 orange trees and the 100 year old recipe from the monastery in the Abruzzo mountains stored in the bottom of the Silver chest, to make the Orange Vermouth arose. Production flourished and “Escorro” was born and distributed throughout Rhodesia. On Rick’s death in 1981 production moved to his Son Richards farm, Nyahuvu in Headlands. Richard and wife Gabrielle with sisters Francis, Virginia and Catherine all helped with promotion of Escorro. Escorro production ceased in 2003 when The Mugabe regime forced farmers to leave Zimbabwe. Fran, Rick’s daughter was murdered in Zimbabwe in 2002 contributing to 2 of her sons moving to Australia. Youngest son Jack, became an Agronomist like his grandfather and in 2014, he too turned his hand to Brewing and The Bargara Brewing Company is born. With the plentiful supply of local oranges, and a new brewery the secret Escorro recipe is handed down to the next generation in the family and put back into production. 5 generations & 3 continents later the legend of Escorro, aperitif is crafted in the same spirit as the monks of the Abruzzi mountains in 1865.