Casella takes on beer’s duopoly

15 June, 2012 by

By James Atkinson

Casella Wines yesterday revealed the extent of its major new brewing venture, which pits the winemaker against Foster's and Lion in an ambitious bid to win over consumers of mainstream premium beers.

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Since deciding to enter the beer category late in 2010, managing director John Casella (pictured) has invested in building one of the country's largest beer production facilities at the family site in Yenda, NSW.

"There's a lot of premium beers and a lot of them really aren't even Australian," Casella said, showing the brewery to journalists yesterday.

"So here's an opportunity to have a family-produced product, an Australian-produced product."

Speaking at the launch of the Arvo beer brand, Casella said the Australian brewing industry is ten times bigger than wine in volume terms, yet there are just "two major producers".

"Look at the wine industry, how competitive and diverse that is in comparison to the brewing industry," he said.

"We felt strongly that there was an opportunity to take advantage of that as far as what we could offer consumers."

Casella said his family has a very large facility and a lot of fixed costs that it could take advantage of by moving into beer.

"We [can] produce our style of beer and do it competitively, versus somebody that's freestanding."

Casella beer sales manager, Ray Ritenis said Australian beer consumers are "crying out for something different".

Brew master, Andy Mitchell said Casella has "state-of-the-art equipment, a boss with vision like no other boss I've seen, and a chance to brew from scratch a brand that's going to take over the market".

"We've got the facilities, we've got the people, and we've got the backing to produce a quality product, as good if not better than anything out there," he said.

"So the big breweries, they're going to have to watch out because we're going to be there very soon."