By James Atkinson

A leading South Australian winemaker expects to have his new brewing venture operational within the next few months, and has the ultimate aim of producing terroir-influenced beers using local ingredients.

Conceived by Jeanneret Wines' Ben Jeanneret and business partner Craig Harnett, Claire Valley Brewing Company was last week granted a producer's licence by the SA liquor regulator.

"We like a beer and we thought we'd better have a go at making some," Jeanneret told TheShout.

He said the company aims to make "provincial" Clare Valley beers by using local grain and water.

"We want to take a bit of that winemaking 'terroir' and try and move it across to beer," Jeanneret said.

"We have access to very fine spring water and our barley will come from the same property which was the former site of the Port Henry Arms, a well known watering hole for murderers, teamsters, shearers, drovers and locals."

"We'd like to call one of our beers the 'Port Henry Arms'."

Memorial to the Port Henry Arms near Auburn, Clare Valley

Jeanneret said the company had recently acquired a decoction brewery that has the capacity to produce about 300,000 litres a year. The brewery will initially be based at his Clare Valley winery while he and Harnett look for a more suitable location.

"Certainly by Christmas we'll have something on the market," Jeanneret said.

"We're hopeful we'll get some good local support with it. We'd like to have bottled beer and keg beer and we'll be canvassing local hotels to give us a bash."

Jeanneret said the brewery's initial range is likely to include an American-style Pale Ale.

"And as Clare's a cold spot – we'll be looking at some dark ales as well, maybe a stout."

He said the only other brewery in Clare is Knappstein, which is now part of the Lion Nathan group.

Local winemaker Pikes also has its own label, Pikes Oakbank Beer, but it is produced in NSW by Australian Independent Breweries, according to the winemaker's website.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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