Queensland craft beer shake-up

It has been a tumultuous few months for the Queensland craft beer scene, with Ballistic Beer narrowly avoiding liquidation, Tiny Mountain brewery closing, Green Beacon brewery ceasing operations and Parched Brewery entering voluntary administration.

Asahi Beverages announced today that Green Beacon’s Geebung brewery will close in around 10 weeks. The brewer said the closure follows several years of strong growth for Green Beacon and is part of a plan to “ensure it continues its strong trajectory by increasing brewing capacity across multiple sites”.

Asahi purchased Green Beacon in 2019, with the brewery currently celebrating its 10th anniversary. Former head brewer Johann van der Walt recently moved to Boxer Brewing after almost a decade at the brewery.

Asahi Beverages will invest in Green Beacon’s original site at the brewpub in Teneriffe to add brewing capacity. Most Green Beacon brewing will be transferred to Asahi Beverages’ other Fire & Earth Ventures sites across Australia, including Pirate Life in Port Adelaide and 4 Pines in Brookvale, NSW, where Wayfarer kegs are already produced.

The closure of Geebung will result in the loss of three full-time and two casual positions. The remaining Geebung employees will transfer to the Teneriffe brewpub.

Green Beacon GM Richard Shrosbery said: “Geebung has been our home for more than six years and has driven much of our
recent success.

“However, we are experiencing significant growth and have now outgrown the site. Today’s announcement means Green Beacon can continue its growth trajectory by unlocking capacity constraints, which will help ensure we continue to get it to lovers of Green Beacon everywhere.

“We will still have a strong presence in Brisbane with the upgraded Green Beacon Brewpub in Teneriffe. And, under the watchful supervision of our chief brewer, all Green Beacon beers will retain their distinct and award-winning flavours.

“The team at Geebung have been tremendous and I am very proud of the contribution they’ve made to Green Beacon’s success.”

Asahi Beverages said it will provide career transition to employees who are impacted by redundancy. A process is also underway to identify if there are suitable alternative roles within Asahi Beverages.

Tiny Mountain shuts its doors

Lion announced last week that it would not renew its property lease and planned to close the Tiny Mountain hospitality venue and microbrewery in Townsville, Queensland.

As part of this change, Lion will also cease production of the Tiny Mountain brand.

Lion’s QLD Sales Director, Pat Donohue said: “From the outset, Tiny Mountain was created to be a great local brand that would be enjoyed here in the region and beyond North Queensland. While the venue has been embraced by locals, despite the dedication and passion of our amazing local team, unfortunately sales of Tiny Mountain have not grown as strongly as initially hoped beyond the venue.

“With the lease on the Townsville property up for renewal, we considered our options and made the difficult decision to close the venue and focus our investment in other areas.

“We will be working with our team to provide opportunities for redeployment to alternate roles across Lion or, supporting them to find alternate employment in the Townsville area through our hospitality network.”

“Lion is committed to North Queensland. Just last year we signed a new multi-year deal with the North Queensland Cowboys, and we are spending close to $1.4 million annually in the region across major partnerships including the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, North Queensland Cowboys and Mt Isa Rodeo, alongside our ongoing support for the region’s pubs and clubs.

“We would like to thank the Townsville locals who have embraced Tiny Mountain and our team for the wonderful hospitality and craft beer experience they have offered guests for the past four years.”

Tiny Mountain’s last day of trade will be Sunday, 2 April.

Ballistic saved from liquidation

Earlier this month, Queensland craft brewer Ballistic Beer Co was saved from liquidation by a consortium of new investors including Catchment Brewing and Canberra-based LaLa Hospitality Group.

Catchment will take a majority stake in the business with the chief executive Matt Newberry assuming the group CEO role.

Ballistic founder David Kitchen will remain as a shareholder and strategic advisor to the board.

“Ballistic will add value to our portfolio and offer a truly independent Queensland craft beer company with a terrific suite of brands,” Newberry told the Courier-Mail.

Ballistic opened its first tap room to the public at the flagship Salisbury Brewery in April 2017.  Since then, the company has opened another four venues, three of which have breweries attached.  These venues spread up the east coast of Queensland, located in Brisbane’s West End, Bundaberg and Airlie Beach.

Parched Brewery enters voluntary administration

West End Craft Brewery Pty Ltd, trading as Parched Craft Brewery has appointed Anne Meagher and David Stimpson of SV Partners as voluntary administrators with the view to selling the Brisbane business.

The SV Partners team are focused on continuing trade as normal at the West End Brewery during the voluntary administration and sale process and are working with the Director Carl Hallion and his family to achieve a positive outcome for the business and current workforce.

Hallion said felt the time was right to hand over the reins to a new owner and expressed his desire to see the brewery continue its journey with an injection of enthusiasm and energy required for the next stage of the Brewery’s life.

Hallion said the journey had been one of the great experiences of his life, taking three years to bring his passion to life, building the brewery from scratch and brewing his award winning brand of beers.

However, the heavy workload and the extra challenges created by COVID-19 over that time have taken their toll personally, leading to the decision to sell. Consequently, he has sought this avenue to see the business transition to new ownership in a timely and structured manner and with minimum disruption.

“Community support for Parched has been amazing, particularly from the West End locals and I will be forever grateful to those who have visited the venue and enjoyed our Parched brews,” Hallion said.  “It is truly a great industry to be a part of”.

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