Australia: Craft Beer Boom Turns to Bust

In the wake of a decade-long surge in craft beer popularity, over a dozen independent breweries in Australia have teetered on the edge of financial collapse in the last year, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Red Lion Brewery in Victoria and Wayward Brewing Company in Sydney have felt the sting, with closures or significant layoffs. Melbourne's Hawkers Brewery, facing insolvency, awaits a critical hearing.

Mazen Hajjar, Hawkers co-founder, laments the industry's struggle amid post-pandemic challenges. Rising ingredient costs, regulatory hurdles, and steep alcohol taxes compound brewers' woes. For Hawkers, this means a 23% hike in production costs for their West Coast IPA since 2018, 45% of which is taxes.

The plight extends beyond Hawkers. Wayward Brewing Co., for instance, faced a daunting AUD 2 million debt. External administration and restructuring loom for many, including Queensland's Revel Brewing and Victoria's Dainton Beer.

Industry advocacy underscores the crisis, citing closures and precarious futures for many breweries. While supermarket giants expand craft beer offerings, the definition of "craft" blurs, complicating matters for independent brewers.

Amid adversity, breweries like Molly Rose and Range Brewing pivot to hospitality-driven models, finding success in onsite sales. Yet, uncertainty clouds the industry's future, leaving brewers to adapt and persevere.

Share this article: