The demolition of industrial buildings in the city has been widespread and there are few reminders of this aspect of 19th-century Adelaide. Of the first main breweries that came into existence in 1843-44 in South Australia, only Johnston’s at Oakbank and the former Wyatt Street brewery are more or less intact. The Lion Brewery, although later, was almost as significant.
The Lion Brewery and Malthouse was built for Bailey and Stanley. Architect Daniel Garlick advertised for tenders in 1871 for the excavation of a large cellar and the erection of a brewery. In 1872, tenders for the construction of the malthouse, kiln and store were advertised.
The building is similar to one built in Clare (now the Enterprise Winery), also designed by Garlick. Glen Osmond bluestone was used in the construction by Brown and Thompson. By 1872 the brewery was described as having a cellar, 5 feet by 25 feet, with a malt store of similar dimensions above it. The malt kiln was later extended.
In 1873 Bailey sold his interest in the brewery to W.H. Beaglehole, the resulting company being operated by Beaglehole, Johnston, James and Gasquoine.
There were further alterations to the brewery in 1873 and 1875 to designs by James Cumming. In 1880 Cumming called tenders for the construction of the hotel at the corner of Jerningham and Melbourne streets. By 1883 the present the complex had largely reached its present form.
Beaglehole and Johnston continued operations until 1888, when the Lion Brewing and Malting Co. Limited was formed. From 1914 the Walkerville Co-operative Brewing Co. Limited supplied the Lion Hotel with beer and the brewing section of the Lion complex ceased production, although the production of aerated waters and cordials continued for some time.