1839 Beerenberg family farm settled

Image: Beerenberg Facebook

It was to be 132 years before the farm gained its current name. But the property which was to become Beerenberg, meaning “Berry Hill”, was settled by Johann George and Anna Rosina Paech in 1839. Six generations later, it remains in family hands and is the headquarters of a successful food business.

George and Anna Rosina were among the German Lutheran migrants attracted to South Australia by the promise of religious freedom. They settled in the Adelaide Hills village of Hahndorf, still known for its German character. Originally a dairy farm, the Paech’s property was handed down through generations until, in 1969, it passed to Grant and Carol Paech. Looking to diversify, they planted strawberries.

In 1971, the Paeches began to turn some of those strawberries into jam and the Beerenberg brand was born. Grant told The Age that he borrowed his mother’s cooking pot and looked up the recipe for strawberry jam in her Green and Gold Cookery Book. A “pick your own” Initially the jam was made in a shed but by 1980 the operation had expanded into a commercial kitchen, shop and viewing deck for visitors.

Beerenberg first ventured beyond the farm gate by supplying jam to Qantas. The miniature jars of strawberry jam replaced imported product in the airline’s first-class cabin. Another innovation was the supply of single-serve plastic packs to hospitality venues. By 1991, the company was employing around 30 full-time staff in addition to seasonal pickers.

Retail sales eventually followed although it took some time before the major supermarkets stocked the brand. In 1996, advertisements in The Age suggested that Victorians who had discovered the brand at the farm should ring to find their nearest stockist.

By 2000, Coles, Woolworths and independent supermarkets were stocking at least some of the Beerenberg products. In the mid-2000s, when my husband and I had a short-lived magazine called Regional Food Australia, surprise promotional packages from Beerenberg would periodically turn up at the local post office. Ever since, we’ve had a jar of their Caramelised Onion in the fridge.

The product range now includes slow cooker meal bases, sauces, relishes, mustards, honeys, marinades and dressings. Plus fruit pastes to accompany cheese, and jams – everything from traditional strawberry to exotic raspberry and violet. The company has won several awards, including a South Australian Premier’s Food & Wine Award. Their Visitors’ Centre, completed in 2021, has also been a finalist in the South Australian Tourism Awards.

This website uses cookies but doesn't share them.