Three months ago, Gordon Burns was sitting at the bar of his empty Miling Hotel, wondering if he had just poured $800,000 and a year of his life down the drain.
Today, he is more likely to be pulling pints and chatting about the harvest with farmers or delivering dinner plates to the local book club while they discuss this month's read.
"It's just gone ballistic - the whole town's come back together you just wouldn't believe it," Mr Burns said of business since the hotel opened its doors in October.
"The town's loving it, all the farmers are coming in for dinner, the restaurant's booked - I've got 12 bookings of 20 or more people between now and Christmas."
In August, _The Weekend West _ highlighted Mr Burns' frustration at his inability to secure a liquor licence for the hotel, which had been closed since 2003 after falling into disrepair under previous ownership.
Having spent about $800,000 doing up the hotel, Mr Burns said he could not afford the $30,000 of works required by the Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor. Since then, he and the department reached a "sensible compromise" that allowed him to open with some conditions.
For example, he was no longer required to fit the toilet cisterns with metal cages to prevent vandalism but was allowed to screw them into place instead.
Miling resident and local councillor Ken Seymour said the re-opening of the pub had been welcomed by the community as a place to meet socially.
Is red tape affecting you? Email firstname.lastname@example.org