Swan Brewery to close its doors
Swan Brewery to close its doors

The Swan Brewery in Canning Vale will be shut down early next year with the loss of about 80 jobs and production moved interstate.

Owner Lion said the production of Swan and Emu beer brands and keg production would be transferred to its West End Brewery in South Australia. WA pack production would move to James Boag & Son Brewery in Tasmania.

Lion said contract labour would also be affected by the closure. Fifty-five sales and support jobs would be retained and the staff relocated to a new WA office site.

"Lion undertakes regular reviews of its operations and unfortunately The Swan Brewery has been operating substantially below full capacity for some time and will require significant ongoing capital investment to maintain its current operations, which is no longer sustainable," Lion Beer, Spirits & Wine Australia managing director James Brindley said.

"This is not something we have taken lightly and is no reflection on the dedication and capability of our people at The Swan Brewery or the importance of the WA market to our business.

"We will be consulting with our people to support them through this significant change."

Exterior view of the Old Swan Brewery in 1897.

Lion said Swan and Emu would be brewed to the same recipe and Lion's expert brewers would shortly begin the process of brew emulation testing to ensure absolute flavour consistency.

The company would invest $70 million into West End Brewery to increase cider and international brand capability and to accommodate the brewing of WA keg production.

It would pump $12 million into James Boag & Son Lion to increase its capability to brew national brands.

Exterior view of the Old Swan Brewery from 1897

The Canning Vale closure is expected to be completed by the end of March 2013.

Lion said new roles created in SA and Tasmania would be first offered to workers from The Swan Brewery.

“Lion remains committed to the Swan and Emu brands and to the Western Australian market,” Mr Brindley said.

“Our ongoing sales presence in WA and our recent acquisition of Little World Beverages demonstrate that we continue to see WA as an important part of our future.”

UnionsWA acting secretary Meredith Hammat said the decision meant more than just the loss of a WA icon.

"The fortunes of companies, industries and economies change and it is often working people and their families who are the first and hardest hit,” Ms Hammat said.

"Sometimes such change cannot be avoided."

She said unions were working with Lion to secure fair notice, terms and conditions for affected employees.

Commerce Minister Simon O’Brien said it was sad when any business moved from WA, “particularly when it means the loss of 80 jobs".

The West Australian

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