“Another remarkable project for Mount Remarkable.”
That is how Mayor Colin Nottle described a long-term $1.5 million dream to revive the Jacka Brothers Brewery in Melrose.
Mr Nottle spoke while standing in a sunlit courtyard beside an archway entrance to the brewery buildings. He was with the Hobbs family who plan to develop the site.
The brewery, eventually with its own modern-day beer, will play host to Shakespeare performances, musical concerts, outdoor cinema, wedding receptions, tours and conventions.
It is a stunning location with a soaring five-storey, stonework tower featuring one of the old vats on the top floor and a view of the town and Flinders Ranges.
The Hobbs family comes from Point Turton, on the Yorke Peninsula, and spends time at the homestead and brewery in school holidays.
Dale Hobbs said the resurgence of Port Pirie and Whyalla had encouraged him to develop plans. He hopes the state and federal governments will get behind the project with grants.
“We see clients from the Upper Spencer Gulf towns of Port Pirie, Port Augusta and Whyalla and the Mid North centres such as Jamestown supporting our vision,” he said.
“We see it as a working brewery and ultimately a tourism experience with guest-house accommodation and conventions for up to 800 people.
“We would like to host half-a-dozen major events each year plus weddings. There could be jazz, opera, blues and country music festivals and comedy events.
“We are very keen to continue the mountain-biking expansion in the town and support associated events such as the Fat Tyre Festival. We could be up and running in two years employing a number of people.
“The Jacka Brothers first bought the site when it was a flour mill. The original bottling plant closed about 1934 during the Depression.”
Mount Remarkable District Council Mayor Mr Nottle said he was “blown away” by the proposal.
“It can’t happen quickly enough,” he said.
Independent Frome MP and Cabinet Minister Geoff Brock said the brewery was “a treasure … as Minister I am always looking for opportunities”.