Tasting Australia Legend
Maggie Beer is not just an Australian food icon – she’s an essential ingredient in any discussion about food and flavour.
In 1973 Beer and her husband Colin settled in the Barossa Valley in South Australia. It was Colin’s vision that prompted them to leave Sydney, where Beer was from, with the intention to breed pheasants. Colin won a Churchill Fellowship to study game bird breeding in the UK, Europe and America which led to the concept of opening a farm shop on the property upon their return in 1979. The couple sold direct to the public, with Beer cooking the pheasants and quail to share how special they were. It only took a year before the farm shop morphed into the Pheasant Farm Restaurant which went on to become part of Australian food history.
In 1991 the restaurant was awarded the Rémy Martin Cognac – Australian Gourmet Traveller Restaurant of the Year Award, the highest accolade of the industry. The restaurant was a resounding success and only closed its doors late in 1993 at the height of its fame due to Beer’s burnout.
In 1996 Maggie Beer Products was created, with the opening of the export production kitchen in Tanunda where this exciting and popular food brand was born.
Twenty-three years later, in 2019, the couple sold the whole of Maggie Beer Products to an ASX group called Long Table. Beer continues to be connected to the business as an ambassador and board member to what is now called Maggie Beer Holdings.
The Pheasant Farm in Nuriootpa, SA, comprising Maggie’s Farmshop, The Eatery, vineyards, olive orchard, fruit orchard, and Maggie’s B&B Orchard House are still owned and operated by the family.
Beer has often said she “owes so much to the Barossa; the beauty of the region, the richness of its produce, the belonging, and the sense of community, with such a collective pride in this special part of the world”. During this long and exciting journey, with so much hard work a necessity, there have been many wonderful experiences and Beer proclaims, “if I had never moved to the Barossa with my husband Colin to pursue his dream, I would never have been given such a life full of possibilities”.