By Andrew Starke
Rapid growth in the demand for craft and premium beer on the east coast of Australia is behind a Little World Beverages (LWB) decision to purchase a brewery on Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula.
Sales of Little Creatures have been a high point in a largely flat local beer market over the past 12 months.
As a result parent company LWB has entered into a conditional agreement to buy the Valley Mills property in Geelong for $6.38 million.
However the brewer will first need to complete a due diligence process to examine whether it can operate within the existing heritage building structures of the former wool mill.
It will also need regulatory approval from local authorities and liquor licensing approvals.
“The Valley Mills property has wonderful industrial heritage which we would love to reincarnate with what we do and the way we do it,” said Little World Beverages executive director Howard Cearns.
“The buildings and spaces within are not dissimilar to the small community breweries of yesteryear, making it a good fit for the ‘traditional village’ approach we value.”
The company has no plans to export the restaurant brewery model from its popular Fremantle establishment to Geelong.
“It [will be] be a brewery designed to meet our forecast demand on the east coast - it’s not a pub, it’s really a production brewery,” Cearns told PerthNow.com.au.
“We think we can do what we need to do there, and we like the idea of recycling and reincarnating old buildings rather than building new infrastructure,” he said.
“It’s got real character and that’s what we’re about, rather than setting up in a nondescript place.”
Little World Beverages shares were trading at $3.15 at 1pm today, slightly down from seven days ago but still close to its record high of $3.20 achieved last month (October).