Australia: West End brewery to close after 160 years

Adelaide's West End Brewery is going to close in June next year after 160 years. The closure has become necessary as the brewery “has been operating well below its full production capacity for some time now and unfortunately this is no longer viable,” cited Lion, owner of the brewery and one of the leading brewing groups in Australia and New Zealand.

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,” said Lion.

"The beer market in Australia continues to decline," said Lion managing director James Brindley. "It's now at its lowest per capita consumption ever recorded in Australia. At the same time, there are about 700 new craft breweries, so the competition is intense."

90 people will lose their jobs but “those impacted by this proposal would have access to extensive outplacement support, and a West End Re-Skilling Fund of up to AUD 1 million (USD 0.7m), on top of any potential redundancy payments,” according to the brewery. Around a third of the existing team would remain in South Australia under this proposal across sales and sponsorship roles.

The West End brewery sits since 1886 on an 8-hectare site on a major road in Adelaide, South Australia which is connecting the Adelaide city center with Port Adelaide. The area is currently zoned industrial but most of its neighborhood is designated as an "urban corridor" allowing multi-storey apartment buildings. Equally, the nearby Coca-Cola factory, which stopped production in 2018 was also sold to a developer last year.

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