Australia: AB InBev buys craft brewer Pirate Life

Just two months after AB InBev’subsidiary ZX Ventures  bought 4 Pines Brewing based in Sidney, Australia, the company  acquired another craft brewery in Australia. Carlton United Breweries (CUB), which is a fully owned subsidiary of AB InBev, announced this morning to have bought Pirate Life Brewing from Adelaide, Australia.

Started only two years ago in March 2015 Pirate Life expects to sell 30,000 hl this year and has already outgrown its existing brewing facility in Hindmarsh, an inner suburb of South Australian’s capital Adelaide. CUB will inject $10 million to help building a new 80,000 hl brewery and hospitality venue in Port Adelaide, just 10 kilometers away from the original brewery.

“The reality is we have run out of capacity at Hindmarsh. With this partnership we’re in a fortunate position to upgrade to a new, bigger brewery while dedicating Hindmarsh to innovate and craft a whole range of new styles to make sure we keep pushing the boundaries and evolving,” Pirate Life co-founder and chief brewer Jared Proudfoot said. According to a today’s press release the brewers intend to brew such beers as sour, seasonal and barrel-aged products in Hindmarsh with Port Adelaide dedicated to other more mainstream beers.

“We’ll get the lease signed before the end of the year and by this time next year we’ll have a fully functional hospitality venue up and running. It will be a 250-to-300 person venue with our beers on tap, a food offering and beer garden — we’re really excited to be part of the Port Adelaide revival,” Jack Cameron said, who founded Pirates life together with his father Michael Cameron and Jared Proudfoot.

The founders also hope to expand the reach of their brand on a national and international basis through AB InBev’s extensive international distribution network:  “Their expertise, quality and distribution chain, from day one will be really valuable — we want to sell good beer to everyone around the world and they’ll help us achieve that,” Jack Cameron said. “We were recently able to visit the 10 Barrel Brewing brewpub in the US [which was bought by AB InBev’s US craft beer arm The High End in November 2014] which really brought to light the value of global shared learning and their approach to hospitality venues,” he added

One of the unique features of the brewery is the fact that the brewery is packaging its beer in cans. “We believe, especially with hoppy beers, cans provide the ideal way to get it to market in the best possible condition. There’s no opportunity for any light or oxygen to get in,” Michael Cameron said in an interview in June 2016.

“With its focus on canned packaging that gives consumers fresh, well-crafted beers and consistent quality, Pirate Life has resonated with Australian beer drinkers who want something different,” Jan Craps, President of AB InBev’s Asia Pacific South Zone, was quoted in today’s press release.

The founders as well as the 41 staff are expected to stay on board and to help in the expansion of the brewery.

The news follows a recent series of acquisitions of Australian craft breweries. In September AB InBev already announced the acquisition of Sydney’s 4 Pines through its subsidiary ZX Ventures. (, 22.9.2017)

One month later the Bickford’s Group, a family owned, South Australian beverage manufacturer with roots back to 1874, announced the acquisition of Vale Brewing with its 35 hl per batch brewing facility in Willunga, South Australia, in the iconic wine region of McLaren just 50 kilometers south of Adelaide

The same month Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) snapped up Feral Brewing from Swan Valley, Western Australia with a production of 72,000 hl  per year.  (, 14.10.2017

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