Lumen - The University of Adelaide Magazine The University of Adelaide Australia
Lumen Winter 2016 Issue
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Scientist brews the perfect formula

Corinna Steeb

Corinna Steeb
South Australia is forging a worldwide reputation for the high quality of its food and beverage sectors. The University of Adelaide is playing a key role in delivering the range of technical and professional skills necessary to achieve that success. Lumen caught up with some of our graduates who are using this expertise to launch their own businesses.

Scientist brews the perfect formula
Moving from medical science into the world of craft brewing might seem an unusual career path but for Prancing Pony Brewery CEO Corinna Steeb it was a natural progression for someone with her entrepreneurial spirit and fast-racing mind.

After arriving in Australia from Germany as a trained maxillofacial surgery nurse, Corinna added more strings to her medical bow by studying animal physiology and then enrolled in a PhD in medicine at the University of Adelaide. She says that her time at university helped her gain discipline. As a mature age student she treated it like a job, arriving at 8am and going home at 6pm.

“I wanted to absorb knowledge and I carried that discipline through to my work – I don’t procrastinate on things or restrict myself to the most obvious solution that is in front of me,” she says.

Reflecting on how her education has helped in her many entrepreneurial ventures, including a stint as a business strategist, Corinna says that much of her learning didn’t happen until she applied her skills out in the workforce.

“I view all of my formal training as a ground for gaining patience and solving problems,” she says.

“When you walk out of university, you’re not an expert but you do have a number of very basic skills – being resilient, coping with disappointment and rejection, problem solving, perseverance and understanding there is a reward at the end of it if you stick with it.

“I very happily lean on my formal training for the soft skills that you don’t receive a grade for – being able to work through problems and making sure you take a logical approach to everything that you need to achieve.”

In the three years since establishing Prancing Pony, Corinna and her partner, head brewer and physicist Frank Samson, have seen some great success, receiving numerous awards for their beers and moving premises to expand production.

The restaurant and unique brewery experience at the Brewshed has become a hugely popular venue for beer enthusiasts and tourists visiting Hahndorf. They’ve also recently installed new brewing equipment, increasing production capacity from 250,000 to 3 million litres.

Corinna is now working on plans for further expansion to include a bigger kitchen to cater for more meals. Most important to Corinna is that she has fun with her work.

“We don’t take ourselves too seriously – everything we do has to have an element of humour and fun,” she says.

“We’ve come a very long way from when we arrived in Australia so I figure let’s play and take everyone with us.”

Story by Genevieve Sanchez


Media Contact:
Mrs Genevieve Sanchez
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