Gage Roads looks to perfect craft
Gage Roads looks to perfect craft

The upheaval in the brewing industry has left Gage Roads Brewing as WA's only listed beer producer - ant it will also soon claim to be the State's biggest.

Lion's looming closure of the Swan Brewery and its move to swallow up Little World Beverages has thrust the Palmyra company into a more prominent place among craft beer makers.

"With that comes the obligation to make sure that we look after the West Australian consumers and deliver them fresh local beer," managing director John Hoedemaker said.

He said its output was slightly bigger than the WA production of Little Creatures brewer LWB.

With mainstream beer sales shrinking and craft brews on the rise, Mr Hoedemaker is also aiming to make Gage Roads the nation's number one craft contract brewer.

And while LWB shareholders in September voted for a $220 million sale to Lion, Mr Hoedemaker was yesterday talking up his $27 million company's prospects at Gage Roads' annual meeting.

After a strategic shift four years ago, the brewer derives a majority of its revenue from contract production for the private labels of Woolworths, a 25 per cent cornerstone investor.

The rest comes from other contract brewing and sales of its own craft beer labels like the Atomic and Sleeping Giant India pale ales.

Gage Roads has a three-year supply agreement with Woolworths in which the retail giant is obliged to purchase a minimum one million cartons of beer a year.

Its goal is to increase overall capacity to three million cartons by 2014-15.

A $12.4 million capital expansion to achieve that target is about 70 per cent complete. That includes the near-complete installation of a 100 hectolitre per brew automated brew house.

Gage Roads made a $500,000 net profit in 2011-12 after revenue increased 25 per cent to $19.7 million, its second year in the black.

The West Australian

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