Against the grain

Grape and grain don’t always mix well commercially. Just look, for example, at the vast capital destruction following Foster’s acquisition of Southcorp Wines. But in Griffith – one of Australia’s biggest wine-producing regions – two wineries turned successfully to brewing on vastly different scales.

The De Bortoli family quietly makes and distributes three beers (including two reviewed today) from its William Bull Brewing Company.

But the neighbouring Casella family, maker of Yellow Tail wine, plans a far bigger push into the beer market. The company launched its Arvo brand earlier in the year, saying at the time it aimed for a five per cent slice of the local market.

Shortly afterwards, Coca-Cola Amatil said it was lending $46 million to Casella’s Australian Beer Company to expand production. The loan will convert to equity at the end of 2013. CCA boss, Terry Davis, says he has15 per cent of the premium beer market in sight.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 16 January 2013 in The Canberra Times