Casella Family Brands, a family-owned wine company based in Australia with a subsidiary in Nappa valley, USA, is buying all the shares it does not already own of Australian Beer Co (ABCo) from Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP). ABCo was established in late 2013 as a joint venture between Casella and Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA).
After Coca-Cola Europe bought its Australian counterpart CCA in May 2021 and became CCEP (inside.beer, 26.10.2020), the company’s general manager for Australia, Pacific and Indonesia Peter West announced in October a strategic shift and the sale of the beer and cider business. (inside.beer, 28.10.2021)
“A move away from beer and apple cider will allow for greater focus for our teams to execute our exciting growth plans in Spirits, RTD and NARTD and enable the future partners of these beer and apple cider brands to continue to accelerate their performance,” West said at that time. “With CCEP’s exit from the Australian beer and apple cider categories in Australia, the decision to sell our interest in ABCo was the natural next step,” he added now.
The buyer, Casella Family Brands started their business in 1969 when Sicilian immigrants Filippo and Maria Casella founded their own winery in Yenda in the Riverina region of New South Wales. The company is best known for its Yellow Tail wine brand that was launched in 2000 and became a great success not only in Australia but also the single-biggest wine brand imported into the US. Since 1994, the founder’s son John Casella heads the business.
In late 2014, Casella bought Peter Lehmann Wines for AUD 57 million (USD 50m) to gain a presence in the premium wine region of the Barossa Valley, followed by the acquisition of the Laira brand in the prestigious Coonawarra district in south-eastern South Australia in 2015, Morris Wines range of fortified wine brands from Victoria’s Rutherglen district in 2016 and South Australian winery Shaw Family Vintners in 2017.
For Casella, the purchase of ABCo is a welcome opportunity as the family is already familiar with the beer and cider business and the brewery – before becoming part of the joint venture - was built in 2012 by Casella as a contract brewery and is therefore located close to the Casella winery in Yenda, NSW. The company is especially successful with its Pressman's Cider.
Casella will take over full ownership of ABCo on July 1. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
John Casella, MD of Casella Family Brands, welcomed the opportunity to take full ownership of the business. “We will endeavour to maintain the excellent relationships the CCEP team has established with customers in the beer and cider category in Australia… We both leave the joint-venture arrangement on excellent terms.”