Are brewery closures good?
We say yes, when they are actually expansions through relocations, rather than outright closures.
The past two days has seen two major announcements by the two big brewery owning companies in Australia. Both CUB (part of South Africa’s SABMiller) and Lion (part of Japan’s Kirin) have announced the closure of the Matilda Bay brewery in Port Melbourne, VIC, and the White Rabbit brewery in Healesville, VIC respectively.
Whilst attention is focusing on the closures of these two breweries, it is clear that these business decisions are about relocating and expanding production of craft beer due to increased demand across Australia. And that’s a positive endorsement that craft beer is an increasing part of the market and being sought and demanded by more customers.
Production of most of the Matilda Bay beers is moving to the Cascade Brewery site in Hobart, TAS with CUB confirming that there will capital investment in increasing the facilities. Unfortunately it seems that the current brewery bar facility won’t be a part of the new set up. Which is a decision we hope they’ll change.
Production of the White Rabbit beers is moving to the Little Creatures site in Geelong, VIC with the construction of a new dedicated brewery alongside the current Little Creatures set up, which does have visitor facilities.
Both relocations are about increasing production due to the increase in demand for craft beer – with White Rabbit commenting that “growth in the last 5 years has exceeded expectations”, and CUB clearly seeking to expand their “growing craft portfolio”
Set against the overall decline in beer sales, that’s great news for craft beer.
Plus, two vacant sites for other breweries to occupy?