|The Clarendon Brewing Company was the states first micro brewery opening in February 1986, with the brewery being part of Normans Clarendon Winery. The Norman wine making family in South Australia is one are one of the oldest wine companies in Australia. The Norman Family started to ferment wine in 1853 near the area then known as the Reedbeds (Now Thebarton). The winery moved to Underdale in the early 20th century. By 1982 the Underdale location was sold and operations moved to Bakers Gully near Clarendon.
Jesse Norman first of the Norman family to move to Australia from England in 1851, was originally a brewer in Cambridgeshire. The family in the early 1980s was inspired by their brewing heritage, and a recent trip to England visiting the new microbreweries, started brewing beer in early 1986.
The first beer brewed was Clarendon Grand Export Lager, a Pilsner style lager beer. The beer was marketed under their parent company ElderIXL and sold as a wine lovers beer, selling for $30 a carton back in 1986 which was at a premium price. The beer did not sell as expected and after 2 batches of beer, brewing ceased. The winery continued to make wine, and currently the Norman Winery is operating out of the Barossa Valley.
Of the 2 batches brewed, only the first was sold, it is rumored that the second batch did not turn out as expected and all the beer was dumped. Any bottles or labels from the second batch are very rare and do sell now for a high price.