Wednesday 14 October, 2020: Today we have outlined to our team a plan to close the West End Brewery in June 2021.
This is a sad day for the West End team, Lion and South Australia.
West End has been operating well below its full production capacity for some time now and unfortunately this is no longer viable. We have come to this proposal as the best way to ensure we have a sustainable brewing network for the future.
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.
Our priority right now is the wellbeing of our team here at the Brewery.
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.
We will be consulting with each and every team member to support them through this proposed change.
Those impacted by this proposal would have access to extensive outplacement support, and a West End 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.
Around a third of our existing team would remain in South Australia under this proposal across sales and sponsorship roles.
We acknowledge West End’s 160-year history. We are a proud supporter of sports at all levels - sponsoring many competitions and teams in SA including the SANFL, the Strikers and the Redbacks – and of the pubs and clubs that bring communities together.
We are committed to doing all we can to see as many of our events and traditions continue and working alongside our customers during this difficult period as they recover from a very challenging year.
Tegan Flanagan: +61 419 949 767 Tegan.Flanagan@lionco.com
Elizabeth Bold: +61 421 765 446 Elizabeth.Bold@lionco.com
Australian Bureau of Statistics, Apparent Consumption of Pure Alcohol Per Capita, 2019.