Craft beers creating top brew of SA entrepreneurs

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By Belinda Willis

A heady mix of top South Australian creators of beer, gin and wine are about to launch a unique Adelaide Hills cellar door with two of the state’s leading chefs running the kitchen.

“Lot 100 is being launched on December 8 and I’m getting married there next Friday,” Mismatch Brewing and group brand manager Leigh Morgan says.

The ambitious, all-in-one brewery, distillery, cellar door and restaurant just outside of Nairne will showcase produce from Mismatch Brewing, Adelaide Hills Distillery, Adelaide Hills Cider, Vinteloper and Ashton Valley Fresh.

The creators of the $4.5 million production facility and cellar door want it to be a memorable experience. From the entry gates to the sprawling 84 ha property, a driveway sweeps up the hill to a modern barn-style cellar door featuring raw timber and concrete, surrounded by 100-year-old gum trees.

Inside Lot 100 at Nairne in the Adelaide Hills.

Inside, the kitchen will be overseen by acclaimed chefs Shannon Fleming formerly from Orana and Tom Bubner from Pizza e Mozzarella Bar, Chicken and Pig – and there’s enough space to host weddings of 660 people.

Next Friday marks its first outing with 226 guests arriving to celebrate Leigh tying the knot with Adelaide occupational therapist Hayley Foreman.

“We won’t be honeymooning yet, I’ve managed to convince my beautiful soon-to-be wife we should escape winter next year instead, which gives me six months working with the team,” Leigh says.

It’s been a jam-packed few years for the co-founder of successful online wine company Vinomofo after joining forces with Mismatch Brewing head brewer and founder Ewan Brewerton full time earlier this year.

All will be revealed at Lot 100 on December 8.

Having launched in 2013 as a gypsy brewer using space in other facilities, Mismatch last year built its own brewery alongside the Adelaide Hills Distillery company famed for its hand crafted spirits.

Its first beer was completed in December 2017 and, in June this year, it took out the Champion Trophy at the prestigious Australian Independent Brewers Association Awards.

At Lot 100, Leigh says the team wants to create leading products but sustainably. There are solar panels and water from two onsite bores is put through a reverse osmosis system and any waste is used to irrigate surrounding orchards. Plans are also afoot to plant a market garden and hops for the brewing process.

“We’re doing this for our children’s children, if more companies think that way it’s going to be so much better for everyone,” Leigh says.

The Wilkadene Woolshed Brewery in the Riverland is another craft brewery operating sustainably.

It’s a similar theme in the Riverland, where Tom and Sarah Freeman first opened their craft brewery, Wilkadene Woolshed Brewery, in a 100-year-old shearing shed overlooking the River Murray in 2009.

At that stage, only five other SA businesses were operating in the niche market.

“Now I think there’s about 37 craft or independent brewers in SA alone and another 11 or more applications are with councils,” Tom says.

Wilkadene is 20km north of Renmark with a cellar door overlooking the picturesque river.

It’s 100% family owned with a focus on producing its beers and Utopia range of ales, cider, hard lemonade and the Rude Ruby, a grapefruit drink which the brewery produced 100,000 litres of last year. Its beverages are produced with zero waste, with wastewater used to irrigate the garden, there’s 40kW of solar panels installed and used grain is fed to the chickens.

Rainwater is also used to save on the River Murray with Tom saying as the brewery has expanded so too has the amount of roofs capturing water.

“We have a good relationship with our neighbours who have a packing shed, they give us water and we give them beer,” Tom says.

The Woolshed Brewery is located on the banks of the mighty Murray at Wilkadene.

Tom says ever-increasing consumer interest in craft beers has spurred growth at Wilkadene Station where he grew up before moving to study and work in wine marketing in Adelaide.

It was when his parents were looking to sell the farm and houseboat business that Tom and his wife Sarah came up with the brewery idea.

“I’d developed a real passion for the beer industry particularly the craft industry, and we’d always wanted to do more with the shearing shed,” Tom says.

Over the past seven years the business’s beer production increased by 80% per year and last year by a further 30%, with 70,000 litres of beer now produced on site and another 15,000 litres at other breweries.

Tom’s personal favourite from the Woolshed Brewery is the drop most sought after in the colder months, a dark ale made with locally grown and roasted wattleseed called Judas the Dark.

“We get the wattleseed from just down the road at Australian Native Bush Foods, it’s run by Mark Lucas and he was a wool classer here when I was a kid,” he adds.

Industry in focus: Craft industries

Throughout the months of November and December, the state’s craft industries will be celebrated as part of I Choose SA.

South Australian craftspeople make up some of our most creative thinkers and makers of sustainable and innovative goods. Read more craft stories here.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Shop South Australia is home to a unique collection of over 300 South Australian gifts and goods from more than 70 local makers and producers. Choose local and Shop South Australia.

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