Victoria-based Mountain Goat – dropped by the new IBA – was bought out by Asahi in 2015.
Australia’s Craft Beer Industry Association has changed its name to the Independent Brewers Association (IBA), and elected not to admit members that are more than 20% owned by large brewing companies or overseas interests.
The move is a demonstration of the IBA’s commitment to independent operators, and is ‘designed to create a body that is better placed to address the challenges faced by small brewers in Australia’, it said.
Beer makers that are more than 20% owned by large brewers, or other businesses that hold significant brewery holdings in Australia or overseas, will no longer be allowed to join the association.
The IBA said the change was agreed upon ‘overwhelmingly’.
Previously, the association had admitted members such as Little Creatures, Malt Shovel and Mountain Goat – the craft brewery acquired by Asahi in 2015 – all of which are 100% owned by global brewing concerns.
IBA chair Peta Fielding said: “This is a great day for our association and for small, independent breweries in Australia. Our industry is a shining light in Australian manufacturing. There are now more than 400 small, independent brewing businesses, up from just 200 when the association began five years ago. The industry directly employs more than 2,100 people and generates an estimated AUD 655 million ($489 million) in economic output.
“Our members face challenges in their businesses with issues such as taxation, market access and licensing that don’t align with those of larger global organisations.
“These changes allow us to narrow our focus on addressing the needs of the businesses that need it most.”
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Amid concerns that the craft movement might have been falling flat, it was a relief to see signs of promise in C&C Group’s full-year results. Though group revenue fell and volumes declined, the Irish drinks firm recorded impressive growth in its craft and premium portfolios. If the big players can defend their tactic of going after independent brewers, then there might be promise yet in the craft beer scene. [Read more…]
The news comes soon after a number of craft beer acquisitions conducted by some of the industry’s biggest names.
Earlier this month, Anheuser-Busch announced that it would add Wicked Weed Brewing – a craft beer maker based in North Carolina – to its craft business arm The High End.
And Heineken increased its stake in California’s Lagunitas Brewing to take full control, having previously agreed a deal for South African brewer Stellenbrau.
The acquisitions reflect a growing trend towards consolidation in the global beer market, as some of the biggest brewers eye a larger stake of the craft beer segment and pursue further growth through acquisitions.
The founder of Lagunitas Brewing, Tony Magee, was forced to deny that he had ‘sold out’ after news of Heineken’s buyout emerged.
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