Torrens Brewery

James Warren arrived in Adelaide from Scotland in January 1838 with plans of starting a farm, but due to land release problems he found himself without an income, to earn a living until land was released for farming he was contracted by Captain Hindmarsh to brew beer for the colony and supply cheap yeast for baking of bread for a period of 7 to 10 years. In 1838 all beer was imported from England and selling for an inflated price, the colony was in desperate need for cheap beer for the colonists to drink. The brewery was constructed on government land on the River Torrens near where the 'City Bridge' now stands, the brewery was operational by June 1838. James was a hard worker and was the only employee at the brewery, all malting and brewing processes were performed by Mr. Warren, malting 8 bushels of wheat a week. After a few early failures, beer was first sold to the public on July 1st 1838. Mr. Warren took out a license to retail beer for 6 months, unfortunately with the brewery being located on government land meant that James was fearful that the land would be taken back at the governments pleasure. Mr Warren constructed a house on Hindley street and was upgrading the brewery to include a distillery in 1839 but the fear of the government taking his brewery and competition from Mr Lillymans new brewery, he sold it to John Auld and John Shand late in 1839.

1845 John Shand went to prison as an insolvent debtor, and John Auld started a winery in Auldana. James Warren later purchased land near Springfield for the use of farming, the original reason for him to immigrate from Scotland.

On Saturday the 12th of January 1839 the five year old son of Mr James Brown, local carpenter, fell into the deep pool underneath Mr Warrens brewery, and was drowned.
RIP Master Brown.


Torrens Brewery

Brewery ID : 5.001.093

On the Torrens River, Adelaide

Established : 1838

Closed : 1844




River Torrens c1843 Near the brewery site.
B6854 State Library SA

John Warren
B10883 State Library SA



John Shand
B7864 State Library SA