South Australia’s Clare Valley is hoping to leap onto the global craft beer map with the opening of a $1m state-of-the-art brewhouse at Pikes Winery. Brewing began Dec 12 2014, with the new tasting room to open in January 2015.
“We’re getting geared up right now,” said Andrew Pike, the winery’s director. “We’ll probably start off with a pilsner and then follow up with a sparkling ale. It’s all happening here at the moment.” The new facility, which includes a 2000-litre brewing system imported from Italy and a modern bottling plant, is under the direction of Brad Nolen, previously team leader at Gage Roads Brewing Company in Western Australia.
Although the hop and the vine are often seen as rivals, Pike’s English forbears ran the Oakbank Brewery in the Adelaide Hills for almost 90 years. The family resumed beer making in 1996 with the release of a small range of traditional pilsners, ales and stouts, but felt that there was sufficient consumer demand to justify building its own microbrewery – a process which was aided by a substantial grant from the South Australian government.
Pike believes that winemaking and brewing, if correctly managed, are highly complimentary activities and hopes the new brewhouse will attract more visitors to the Clare, a region which is known internationally for its rieslings.