The former West's Coffee Palace in Hindley Street, Adelaide, was part of the temperance strategy to provide an alcohol-free alternative to hotels.

stems from the colony's Protestant nonconformist Dissenters

DRINK – OR NOT TO DRINK ALCOHOL – HAS BEEN A STRONG THEME of South Australian social history. For all its reputation as capital of the wowser state, Adelaide from the 19th Century had more hotels than churches.

But a strong Protestant Nonconformist Dissenter (Methodist, Baptist, Congregationalist etc) aversion to alcohol was entrenched in the colony’s foundation.

A Total Abstinence League was formed in South Australia in 1840 and boasted 10,000 members by 1869. By the 1880s, the Independent Order of Rechabites, a friendly society that required its members to be teetotallers, was flourishing and offering health care and social insurance.

Two other influential temperance organisations were the South Australian Alliance (1884), providing political leadership to the movement, and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU; 1886) which linked its goal of combating alcohol-related problems by advocating for women’s suffrage and for protecting women and children in the home and in the workplace.

From the late 19th Century, the temperance cause was further strengthened by alcohol-free “coffee palaces” and temperance hotels in Adelaide and elsewhere in South Australia. These provided food, comfortable accommodation and opportunities to socialise in surroundings far removed from that of the hotel front bar. Among the most notable were the Grand Coffee Palace (1891, replacing a coffee palace destroyed by fire in 1889; rebuilt 1907) and Grant’s Coffee Palace (1908; West’s Coffee Palace from 1919; now Arts SA headquarters) almost directly opposite each other in Hindley Street, Adelaide, and the Grosvenor Hotel on North Terrace, Adelaide (1918).

Despite its name, the temperance movement stood for total abstinence and for many years its goal was to end the liquor trade. This was seen as benefitting health, good order and progress. It supported laws that moved towards this end. Achievements that fell short of its ultimate goal were “instalments on prohibition”.

Among its early victories was the enshrining in law the “local option”, where electors controlled liquor licences in their district; restricting Sunday trading hours, raising the legal drinking age and, in 1916, 6 o’clock closing – the result of winning a 1915 referendum.



SIX O'CLOCK CLOSING OF HOTEL BARS AFTER REFERENDUM win in 1915 by temperance lobby who keep it in place until 1967 

Hotels thrive under constant temperance and political pressure on effects of alcohol

Adelaide is as much a City of Pubs as a City of Churches. The battle between them over alcohol drink was a constant from the start of the colony and well into the 20th Century when it was led  by teetotal premiers Tom Price, John Verran, Archibald Peake and Tom Playford (1938-65). A major 19th Century achievement – getting votes for women – was closely aligned to combating alcohol-related problems and protecting women and children in the home and workplace.


Temperance has major win in 1915 with the referendum vote for 6pm closing of bars

The most famous South Australian temperance achievement was the state-wide referendum win in 1915 when 100,418 voters, out of 176,537, favoured 6pm closing of hotel bars. Among the temperance movement’s earlier victories had been the enshrining in law from 1880 of the principle of local options, where electors living near a hotel could exercise control over hotel liquor licences in their district. It also achieved restrictions to Sunday trading hours and raised the legal drinking age.

Temperance aims for 1pm Saturday closure of bars, vigorously resists any change to 6pm rule

An attempt in the South Australian Parliament in 1938 to revoke 6 o’clock closing of hotels encouraged temperance advocates into a major public campaign, involving huge marches and rallies and carefully targeted lobbying of politicians. With many independent members in parliament being lobbied, the “booze bill” was defeated – by one vote. But temperance’s last big victory and marked the end of its greatest vigour and popular support although 6pm closing remained intact until 1967. 

Don Dunstan in 1967 ends 6pm swill and South Australia as last bastion of 'wowsers'

Premier Don Dunstan raised his glass at one minute past six o’clock in the Challa Gardens Hotel front bar on Friday, September 28, 1967, to an end 6pm closing of hotel bars in South Australia. The Licensing Act changes had squeezed through state parliament six months after being first proposed. It ended the 6pm regime in place since 1916 after the temperance movement’s referendum win. South Australia, “the wowser state”, was last to hold out against dropping the restricted hours.



SOUTH AUSTRALIAN BREWING CO. THE GIANT AMONG MANY (Lion,Walkerville, Springfield, Union); Coopers only local survivor 

Breweries among the first industries in South Australia as beer is encouraged over spirits

Beer brewing was one of the first industries in South Australia. Early in 1838, Governor John Hindmarsh allowed John Warren to build a brewery on the parklands near the River Torrens. Other small breweries in Adelaide and nearby soon followed. To minimise the consumption of spirits, regarded as detrimental to the colonists’ wellbeing, the authorities encouraged beer to be brewed. By the mid 1860s, South Australia had more than 30 breweries spread across the settled areas of the colony; in the city were the Union (Rundle Street), Adelaide (Pirie Street), West End (Hindley Street) and Anchor (Morphett Street); there were breweries in Hindmarsh, Kent Town, Port Adelaide and Walkerville and Thomas Cooper’s small brewery in Norwood. One of the earliest in the country areas, Johnstons’ brewery at Oakbank, was established in 1843. Several breweries in the city, suburbs and country closed through their owners becoming insolvent. Many early brewers weren't skilled and were unable to produce acceptable beers, particularly during summer when high temperatures made fermentation control difficult and  bee sourr. Advances in scientific knowledge and improved equipment in the late 19th Century enabled city brewers to increase production. The remaining smaller breweries, particularly in the country, less able to adapt to modern methods, soon became uneconomic.

Emerging giant, South Australian Brewing Co., in 1893 set to dominate beer/hotels business

South Australian Brewing, Malting & Wine & Spirit Co., emerging in 1888 from amalgamating Edwin Smith’s Kent Town and William Knox Simms’ West End breweries and the wine and spirit business of Rounsevell & Simms, was a major development in the brewing industry. South Australian Brewing, Malting & Wine & Spirit Co. listed on the stock exchange of Adelaide. It sold the wine and spirit business to two Adelaide wine merchants, A.E. & F. Tolley and Milne & Co. in 1893 and became South Australian Brewing Co. Ltd. The new company bought breweries in Laura and Port Augusta in 1893 and closed them in 1893 and 1898. Walkerville Co-operative Brewing Co. Ltd, originally operating at Walkerville, took over the Torrenside Brewery at Thebarton (established in 1886 by the Ware brothers) in 1898. Walkerville Coop was to become South Australian Brewing's main competitor. Lion Brewery in North Adelaide was the other major competitor, but it ceased brewing in 1914. Other smaller breweries were finding it increasingly difficult to survive. Poor brewing practices, competition from larger city breweries that took advantage of the expanding railway system, the Beer Duty Act 1894 which exacted a duty of two pence per imperial gallon (2d/4.5L), and, following federation, brewer’s licences and regulations associated with the commonwealth government’s Beer Excise Act 1901 resulted in more brewery closures in the city, suburbs and country.

Bigger breweries tie up control of pubs as SABCo's Thomas Nation has bitter-beer success

SABM&W&SCo (later South Australian Brewing Company) owned and leased more than 100 hotels from its start. The “tied house” system ensured that a hotel sold predominantly the proprietary brewery’s products. After several brewers experimented unsuccessfully with lager, during 1912-13, Thomas Nation, South Australian Brewing Co.’s head brewer, refined its method of brewing and produced a bitter beer that gradually replaced the old English-style top-fermented ale.

Coopers the only locally owned brewer left in 1993 when SABCo goes to Lion Nathan/Kirin

By 1930, most small breweries had ceased operating and contracted with the two major city brewers – South Australian Brewing (SABCo) and Walkerville Co-op – to supply their hotels. From 1938, the only other breweries operating were Springfield and Cooper & Sons. In 1993, SABCo was taken over by Lion Nathan of New Zealand (in turn taken over by Kirin Brewing of Japan in 2009), leaving Coopers as the only Australian-owned brewery and  still operated by the Cooper family. 


GEO HALL & SONS, WOODROOFE'S, BICKFORDS AND NIPPY'S produce soft drinks, cordials, juices that become icons of the state

Stonie Ginger Beer leads the 149-year drinks phenomenon of Geo Hall & Sons at Norwood

Stonie Ginger Beer was the signature drink from Halls (Geo. Hall & Sons), a label that survived in South Australia for 149 years. It was started in 1849 in Marryatville by English immigrant George Hall who had brewed non-alcoholic drinks as a youth. In 1869, he was joined by sons Henry, Thomas and Edward. They moved to Norwood Parade where the major competitor was W. Woodroofe & Son. At the 1880 International Exhibition in London, Geo. Hall & Sons won six first prizes.


Woodroofe's Lemonade survives sale of South Australian company to remain 'still best made'

Generations of South Australian mothers gave their sick children boiled Woodroofe’s lemonade under medical advice. Generations of South Australian mothers gave their sick children boiled Woodroofe’s lemonade under medical advice. Woodroofe’s (or Woodies) was started by William Woodroofe and Bruce Randall as a soft drink business in 1878 in Norwood. The factory drew water from a natural spring. Woodroofe’s innovative products and marketing brought it success as a regional independent soft drink producer for more than a century. The most popular flavour was, and continues to be, lemonade. In the 1970s, the growth of national producers and increasing popularity of international brands (particularly Coca-Cola) gave Woodroofe increasing challenges. The business was family owned until it was bought by Adelaide businessmen Michael Harbison and Tim Hartley. They reinvigorated the business, including new flavours, such as fruit- flavoured mineral water. In 1983, Harbison and Hartley floated the business on the Adelaide Stock Exchange. South Australian Brewing bought its soft drink manufacturing and onsold the business to Cadbury Schweppes, who closed the historic Norwood factory and moved production to their plant at Payneham. In 2009, Schweppes was bought by Japanese beer company Asahi. Asahi/Schweppes closed the Payneham operations in 2016 and shifted production to Melbourne and Perth but Woodroofe drinks were still marketed in South Australia. Most popular is lemonade, advertised for many years with the jingle: “Still the best lemonade made”. 

Lime Juice Cordial still a stalwart originating in A.M. Bickford & Sons' Waymouth factory, 1874

Bickford’s Lime Juice Cordial was one of first products from the South Australian cordial and aerated water factory and laboratories opened on Waymouth Street, Adelaide, in 1872. In 1850, when pharmacist William Bickford died at the age of 35, his wife Anne Bickford continued trading asA. M. Bickford & Sons. The family built a factory and started making cordials and soft drinks in 1874. Including the now-famous lime cordial, these products soon gained international awards.



Nippy's adapts to make its juice an icon but Berri Juices falls to fate of foreign ownership

Nippy's Fruit Juices is a 100% South Australian family firm that's become Australia’s largest supplier of fresh fruit juices and a state icon. Founded by Alic Knispel in the 1930s, Nippy's adapted to having surplus Riverland oranges by successfully turning to making juice. Berri Juices was formed in 1943 using fruit that dominated the Riverland economy. But a takeover, leading to 100% foreign ownership, saw its Berri factory closed in 2010 and juice production moved out of the region.



ADELAIDE KEEPS CREATING BRANDS, MANIAS, REVOLUTIONS of its own with milk labels, iced coffee, Cibo Espresso, Boost Juice 

Farmers Union, Dairy Vale, AMSCOL become state's famous milk cooperative brands

Farmers Union originated at Jamestown in 1888 from a producers’ union to combat depressed prices and the power of dealers. Its main competitor was AMSCOL, producing bottled milk (including for schoolchildren), icecream (including Dandies and Eskimo Pies), cream, cheese and butter. In 1978, AMSCOL was bought by South Australian Farmers Union and Dairy Vale – a cooperative formed in Mount Compass. Farmers Union and Dairy Vale became part of National Foods.

Iced coffee becomes a South Australian global oddity that conquered even Coca-Cola in sales

Farmers Union Iced Coffee is a South Australian – and a global – oddity. First sold in 1977, it became so popular in South Australia that it outsold Coca-Cola (by 3:1 in 2008). South Australia was the only place in the world where a milk drink outsold a cola, with South Australians consuming 36 million litres of it in 2008, Launched when Farmers Union was still a South Australian dairy farmers cooperative, its iced coffee was Australia’s best-selling flavoured milk by 2003 when sales reached 22 million litres. The drink is made with coffee, glucose, and homogenised reduced fat milk and milk solids. It is available predominantly in 600 mL and 375 mL cartons. In the early 1990s, the Farmers Union was bought by Adelaide Steamship Company and made part of National Foods. Meanwhile, another South Australian milk cooperative, Dairy Vale, from Mount Compass, was taken over in 1997 by a New South Wales cooperative called Dairy Farmers. This set up an advertising war from South Australia for the national iced coffee market using Farmers Union and Dairy Vale brands. Pitting marketing figures such as Trevor Pomery (Farmers Union) and Patrick Baker (Dairy Vale) against each other, the battle saw “It’s a Farmers Union Iced Coffee or it’s nothing” win, along with television commercials doing twists on: “When the wall came down”, “Survived the Apollo disaster”, “When Chisel broke up”, “Lived through the Millennium bug” “..and Trevor’s underarm” and “Strongly opposed the Bush invasion”. These and others helped raise the Farmer’s Union Iced Coffee profile nationally.


Cibo Espresso starts an Adelaide revolution with an authentic Italian coffee experience

Cibo Espresso created Adelaide’s coffee revolution in 2000 with its first outlet on the corner of Frome and Rundle streets. Cibo expanded to other outlets as it won the city over to an authentic Italian coffee experience that made outside coffee shop chain struggle. Cibo’s founders, Roberto Cardone, Salvatore Pepe, Angelo Inglese and Claudio Ferraro, had become renowned for the Italian experience they presented at their CIBO Ristorante in O’Connell Street, North Adelaide, from 1996.


Boost Juice Bars an international chain from its first store in King William Street

Boost Juice Bars, the chain of retail outlets specialising in fruit juice and smoothies, was formed in 2000 from a first store in Adelaide. It has franchise stores in Asia, Europe, South Africa, India and the UK. Boost Juice Bars founder Janine Allis noticed the juice bar fad in the United States in 1999. With husband Jeff, Allis brought the idea to Australia. In 2000, Allis opened her first Boost Juice Bar in King William Street, Adelaide. By 2004, it had 175 stores across Australia and New Zealand.



JACOB'S CREEK,  GRANGE GIVING SOUTH AUSTRALIA GLOBAL PROFILE as wine state with vines going back to mid 19th Century

South Australia still No.1 wine state with a lift in prices, quality and interest from China

South Australia remains Australia’s wine state, producing 50% of its bottled wines and  80% of the country’s premium wine.The state’s wine industry generates almost $1.8 billion in revenue, with $1.2 billion of this from exports. A rebound in prices and vintage quality, with China’s growing interest, has buoyed the industry after down periods such as the 1980s when vines were pulled out in the Barossa Valley. This led to greater appreciation of South Australia’s wine heritage including old vines.


Barossa Valley benefits from special blend of German and English – plus the oldest vines

Barossa Valley has some of the oldest wine grape vines in the world. The valley – and South Australia – escaped the phylloxera disease that devastated European vineyards and reached Victoria in the mid 19th Century. Over150 years, German settlers became the valley’s expert vignerons who built on the European experience. Entrepreneurial English settlers also built wineries and sold to the vast market of wine consumers in London through their connections.


Jacob's Creek now a world brand from Johann Gramp's first plantings in 1847

Bavarian-born Johann Gramp founded Orlando Wines and a future world brand when he planted vines near Jacob’s Creek in the Barossa Valley in 1847. His son Gustav took over the vineyard in 1903 until it was inherited by his grandson Hugo. It stayed in the Gramp family until the 1970s when it was bought by Reckitt and Colman and then by Pernod Richard. Jacob’s Creek has become famous through that brand and Orlando Wines have based their large cellar door next to the creek.


Grange's fame is the legacy of Dr Penfold's 1840s Magill vineyard and Max Schubert

Penfolds, the world’s most admired wine brand in 2016 and producer of the famous Grange label, goes back to the purchase of 200ha in Magill by Dr Christopher Rawson Penfold and his wife Mary in 1844. Penfolds Magill Estate has been reduced to 5ha by the onset of housing but its Grange vineyards is one of few within the boundaries of a major city. The estate’s fame has been built on Grange, a wine produced as an experiment by Penfolds’ chief winemaker Max Schubert in 1951.



status but Prancing Pony in small brewer revival; cider returns

First brewed in 1859, West End Draught a stayer as best-selling beer in South Australia

West End Draught, first brewed in 1859 and now a 4.5% alcohol pale lager, remains the largest selling beer in South Australia. South Australian Brewing Company’s West End brewery in Hindley Street was closed between the 20th Century world wars and its operations merged with Southwark Thebarton brewery, founded by A. W. & T. L. Ware in 1886 and becoming the Walkerville Cooperative Brewery in 1898. It was taken over by South Australian Brewing Company in 1938.


Coopers renowned for pale and sparkling ales; its home-brewing kits an international winner

Coopers, the nation’s largest Australian-owned brewery, keeps winning Royal Adelaide Show beer and cider trophies for its Australian-style lager, traditional Australian-style pale ale and reduced-alcohol beer. Coopers is most famous for its pale ale and sparkling ale. Its traditional ales still make up 80% of sales. In the 1970s, the Coopers company was saved by the international success of its home brew kits. It is now the world's largest producer of home-brewing equipment.


Prancing Pony grabs the world's-best-beer gong as small craft breweries come surging back

India Red Ale by Prancing Pony Brewery at Totnes in the Adelaide Hills was judged the world’s best beer in 2016 at the International Beer Challenge in London.
The success for the German-influenced Prancing Pony – Australia’s only fire brewery – reflects the resurgence in South Australian small breweries. Wheatsheaf Hotel in Thebarton was named Australia’s best small brewery in the 2017 national craft beer awards. Another to shine at the awards was Pirate Life, in nearby Hindmarsh.


Cider also making a 21st Century return as companies learn to share their resources

Hills Cider Co., the Barossa Cider Co, Kangaroo Island Ciders and Sidewood are part of the 21st Century cider revival in South Australia. Oakbank-based wine company Ashwood Estate is increasing its Sidewood cider production including a canning line. In another example of different drink producers joining forces, Hills Cider Company is working with the Mismatch Brewery, Adelaide Hills Distillery and Ashton Valley Fresh to open the Premium Adelaide Hills Beverage Experience.



with its skill (international prizes) and novelty (green ants) 

Jon Lark on Kangaroo Island credited with takeoff of the state's gin renaissance in 2007

The pioneer of the South Australian gin movement is Jon Lark of Kangaroo Island Spirits, started in 2007. His older brother Bill is widely acknowledged as the godfather of Tasmania’s celebrated artisan whisky industry. Jon and his wife Sarah grow many of their own botanicals, including mint and juniper, for the gin. They have a South Australian supplier for coriander, use local citrus and make use of indigenous botanicals such as wild fennel, coastal daisy bush and wild juniper.


Adelaide Hills' 78 Degrees Gin by Sacha La Forgia takes top world prize at Baltimore 2017

78 Degrees gin, created at Adelaide Hills Distillery in Nairne, by craft distiller Sacha La Forgia, took out top prize for international gin at the American Distilling Institute Awards in Baltimore in 2017. Winemaker La Forgia founded Adelaide Hills Distillery in 2014 and his 78 Degrees Gin also picked up a gold medal at the 2016 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Another catalyst for new gin brands has been Applewood Distillery, in an old apple store in Gumeracha in the Adelaide Hills

Japanese yuzu and green ants among novelties brought to South Australian gin

Gin makers in South Australia are applying the state’s traditional trait of bringing novelty – from the Japanese-native fruit yuzu to Australian green ants – to the drink. The yuzu was grafted onto the fruut trees of the Arnold family near Waikerie and used in gin at McLaren Vale by winemaker Rowland Hill, in a move started by fruit and vegetable wholesaler Margy Abbot. Sacha La Forgia, whose 78 Degrees gin took out a top internationaprize, has used green ants as an ingredient for his gins.

McLaren Vale Distillery keeping South Australian whisky in world-class stream

A $2.5 million whisky distillery using local grain will create a tourism experience amid the McLaren Vale wine region. John Rochfort is bringing his experience in the Tasmanian whisky industry back to South Australia in partnership with Jock Harvey of Chalk Hill Wines. Rochfort was also a prime mover in bringing the first biannual Asia Pacific Whiskies and Spirits Conference to Adelaide in 2017 and for the next decade. Adelaide’s Tin Shed Distilling Company is also making international waves.

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