AIB successor now brewing at full kilter
By James Atkinson
The new owner of the major contract brewing facility previously operated by Australian Independent Brewers (AIB) is upbeat about the business's future prospects, with increased production of beer, cider and even RTDs on the cards.
Brewpack, an Australian start-up company, recently acquired the brewing assets of AIB, which was placed into receivership in July.
Brewpack director Anton Szpitalak told TheShout his family – which has a business background predominately in the manufacture of solar products – decided to invest in the brewery after being alerted to the opportunity by his brother Marek, who was head brewer at AIB during some of its receivership.
"We're pretty experienced operators of businesses globally, we see a lot of opportunity here," Szpitalak said.
"Although the craft beer business is not wildly profitable, if we make decent beer and do a good job servicing the industry, we think there's an opportunity to make good money."
Szpitalak acknowledged some of Brewpack's customers had experienced production delays as the company went through the process of obtaining an excise licence with the Australian Tax Office.
"It did take about two weeks before we could churn beer out, which is obviously hard for our customers to deal with. But we're at full kilter now and they're getting great quality product."
Szpitalak said Brewpack is committed to contract brewing and has no intention of setting up its own label.
"At least on the east coast, there's such a shortage of contract brewing capacity at the moment, especially on the bottling side," he said.
He said all the staff of AIB have started on board with the new venture, including head brewer Sunny Browning, who has an excellent reputation in the industry for making "great quality and consistent beer".
Brewpack currently has a 50-hectolitre brewhouse in Smeaton Grange, south west of Sydney. At peak volume, Szpitalak said the facility could be running around 4.5 million litres per year of production.
He said the company will investigate expanding its production capacity to be able to accommodate its existing customers as they grow, as well as attracting new, larger customers, and expanding its production of cider and possibly RTDs.