Scramble for craft funds favours the big

Big brewers set to reap the benefits

IbisWorld research suggests our big brewers, Lion and SABMiller, are better placed than small brewers to reap the benefits of rapidly growing craft beer sales.

The researcher estimates craft beer’s market value at $167 million, following annual growth of ten per between 2010 and 2015. IbisWorld says 147 businesses in the craft beer industry employ 552 people.

In this rapidly growing market, says IbisWorld, small-scale newcomers face few barriers to entry and require comparatively small capital inputs. However, commercial success requires larger volumes and larger capital inputs – which favours the big brewers and their existing craft brands.

Echoing these thoughts in an interview for Radio Brews News, Stone and Wood founder, Jamie Cook, estimated short-term capital requirements for the industry at $85 million. The challenge for small brewers, he said, was to keep up with market growth and the big brewers.


Killer Sprocket Hey Juniper 500ml $8
Killer Sprocket comes from Sean and Andrea Ryan, operating out of the Cavalier Brewery Melbourne. They make Hey Juniper in the richly malty, highly hopped American ale style, and season it with juniper berries. The combination of hops and juniper gives a pervasive – and inescapable – bitterness to a unique beer.

Holgate Brewhouse Nut Brown Ale 500ml $8.90
Holgate Brewhouse’s tenth anniversary ale combines “lashings of Australian macadamia nuts and hearty English malts”, says the back label. The beer’s deep and brooding brown colour matches its earthy, charry, malty, vegemite-like savoury flavours. Despites its weight, it’s spritely and fresh on the palate, with a mild bitterness offsetting the sweet malt.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2015
First published 26 and 27 May 2015 in and the Canberra Times