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Cheers to a great year for South Aussie beer

Primary Industries

Beer has been a big deal in South Australia since Thomas Cooper brewed his first ale in 1862. We have since fallen in and out of love with iconic local brands such as West End and Southwark but it’s the new breed of craft brewers in the state that have shaken things up in 2017.

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Adelaide hosted the national Craft Brewers’ Industry Conference and Australian Awards for the first time in July, bringing the cream of the national industry to the Adelaide Convention Centre.

The week included the Australian Craft Beer Awards where Adelaide’s Pirate Life took out the coveted title of Australia’s Champion IPA with its single hop variety Mosaic IPA, right.

The Wheaty Brewing Corps, which was born in the backyard of the Wheatsheaf Hotel in 2014, was crowned Australia’s Best Small Brewery at the awards.

It was a massive achievement for former Exeter Hotel staff Jade Flavell, Liz O’Dea and the late Emily Trott who bought the rundown Wheatsheaf Hotel in 2003 and spent 11 years driving Adelaide’s emerging craft beer scene.

The trio decided to start brewing their own beer and the Wheaty Bewing Corps was launched in July 2014 in the form of a 600 Litre Brewhouse with three single-batch fermenters.

Hot on the back of its Champion IPA win Pirate Life announced it would build a new brewery in Port Adelaide to boost production on the back of huge growth.

The Pirate Life team with their Champion IPA Trophy at the Australian Craft Beer Awards in July.

Last month the company, which only sold its first beer in 2015, also revealed it had been bought by the world’s biggest brewer AB InBev. The sale includes a $10 million investment by AB InBev into the new Port Adelaide brewery, which will also have a 200-seat front of house venue.

Pirate Life was not the only local craft brewery to sell out in 2017. In October, Vale Brewing, the makers of Vale Ale, Fox Hat beers and Dr Pilkington’s cider finalised the sale of its 3500 litre Willunga brewery to The Bickford’s Group.

In November, Coopers opened a new $65 million malting plant to help it conquer the world.

The 13,000sq m plant, considered the most technically advanced in the world, will produce around 54,000 tonnes of malt a year and give Coopers full control over its malt.

Coopers has also launched its first new beer in 13 years, its 4.2 per cent Session Ale. The beer is being poured from pub taps around Adelaide and is expected to be released in cans next year.

This is a Creative Commons story from The Lead South Australia, a news service providing stories about innovation in South Australia. Please feel free to use the story in any form of media. The story sources are linked in with the copy and all contacts are willing to talk further about the story.

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