Lion to close iconic SA brewery West End as beer consumption falls
Citing Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, the company said per capita beer consumption had plunged around 20 per cent over the past 10 years.
“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,” Lion said on Wednesday.
As a result, the brewery had been operating well below its full production capacity for some time and was no longer viable.
Lion said it was a sad day but the closure was the best way to ensure a sustainable brewing network for the future.
“This is no reflection on the dedication or capability of our team at West End and their contribution to this brewery and our brands over many years.
“We recognise this is very difficult news and it comes at a particularly challenging time for our people.”
Lion said around a third of staff - around 40 workers - would remain with the company in SA across sales and sponsorship roles.
A spokeswoman said about 94 staff would be made redundant.
The company says they will have access to outplacement support and a re-skilling fund of up to $1 million on top of any potential redundancy payments.
“We will work with the SA Government to optimise this support package,” the company said.
The spokeswoman said popular SA-only brands West End Draught and Suffolk Bitter would continue to be made at Lion’s other breweries.
The brewery, which is the company’s oldest in the state, will shut its doors in June.