Lion has announced it plans to close the West End Brewery in South Australia in June 2021.
The brewery was established in Adelaide in 1859. It moved to the Southwark Brewery in Thebarton – its current location – in 1980. West End produces West End Draught, Southwark and a range of Lion beer brands including Hahn, Toohey’s and Little Creatures. Lion’s three cider brands — James Squire Orchard Crush, 5 Seeds and Kirin — are also made at the brewery.
The brewer said it was a “sad day for the West End team, Lion and South Australia”.
“West End has been operating well below its full production capacity for some time now and unfortunately this is no longer viable,” the company noted.
“We have come to this proposal as the best way to ensure we have a sustainable brewing network for the future.
“The Australian beer market has been in long-term decline for the past decade as Australian drinkers choose other beverages, like wine, over beer. Per capita beer consumption has dropped around 20% in this time.”
“Our input costs have continued to rise against this backdrop of declining volume, and a further drop in draught beer sales as a result of the pandemic.
“Our priority right now is the wellbeing of our team here at the Brewery. This is no reflection on the dedication or capability of our team at West End and their contribution to this brewery and our brands over many years.
“We recognise this is very difficult news and it comes at a particularly challenging time for our people. We will be consulting with each and every team member to support them through this proposed change.”
Those impacted by this proposal will have access to extensive outplacement support, and a Re-Skilling Fund of up to $1 million, on top of any potential redundancy payments. Lion will work with the SA Government to optimise this support package.
Around a third of Lion’s existing team will remain in South Australia under this proposal across sales and sponsorship roles.
State Labor Leader Peter Malinauskas tweeted he was “devastated” by the closure.
“This is a massive lost to our state,” he said.
Popular SA-only beer brands West End Draught and Southwark Bitter will continue to be made at Lion’s other breweries. Lion plans to sell the West End brewery site.