BREAKING NEWS: Coca-Cola Amatil buys Feral Brewing
Feral Brewing has announced it's agreed to sell 100% of the company to Coca-Cola Amatil.
The news comes after fellow craft brewer Four Pines sold its business to AB InBev last month.
Feral dominated the recent 2017 Perth Royal Beer Awards, taking out Best Commercial Brewery, Best WA Brewery, Best Ale Packaged, Best Ale Draught and Best Stout Packaged.
Founder of the popular West Australian brewery, Brendan Varis, said he made the decision because he had taken the business as far as he could on his own.
"Since we first flung open our doors back in October 2002, it’s been pretty much the best journey a brewer with a vision could have hoped for," he noted.
"I’ve lost count of the number of different beers we brewed, how many of them we introduced to Australia for the first time, how many beer awards we have received, the great people who have joined our team and how many consumer or industry polls we have either topped or been recognized as standouts among our peers.
"The time has come for us to make a tough decision in the best interest of our future, our loyal craft beer consumers and the amazing team that we have within Feral brewing.
"Making innovative premium quality beers that are well executed and have high drinkability is what the team here loves to do and what consumers admire most about us. But a growing business is a hungry one. We have a lot of future plans for the business which, if Feral needed to rely on my personal balance sheet to fund, would take years to execute."
Varis' three key conditions met by Coca-Cola Amatil
Varis said that after a lot of in depth conversation, the management team within Coca-Cola Amatil’s alcohol business had left him totally comfortable that his three key outcomes would be embraced and delivered by their team.
1. The Feral team would be able to continue what they love to do and have their futures preserved.
2. Feral's mission of making beer that they love to drink and have personal respect for would remain the primary goal of the brewery.
3. Varis would continue to be involved with the brewery because of personal desire, not obligation.
"This is not a decision that I have taken lightly and not one that I expect to regret one little bit," Varis added. "I have no doubt whatsoever that both our loyal craft beer consumers and the amazing team that we have within Feral brewing will look back in a few years’ time and realise this was the best thing for all."
Varis also noted that the beer business at Amatil "is still relatively young".
"Due to that, their focus is very much about building brands, which is exactly what Feral needs currently. After lots of conversations I became comfortable that they understood exactly what they would be buying when it came to the Feral business.
"With the bigger team behind us we will be able to expand our innovation program and have access to a distribution network that will put our beers in front of thousands more craft beer consumers."
Coca-Cola Amital welcomes Feral to the family
Coca-Cola Amatil said the decision to buy Feral came because it saw an opportunity to add a "world-class high end Australian craft beer range into our portfolio, along with the people behind them."
The company said it was a space it doesn't currently play in, but is in strong growth, "which plays perfectly into our long-term beer strategy to build our business to scale through credible beers that really resonate with today’s consumers."
Group Managing Director of Coca-Cola Amatil, Alison Watkins, said: “The Alcohol and Coffee business is an important part of Amatil’s future growth plans and this new relationship with Feral Brewing is a really exciting step for us in the fast-growing craft beer segment.”
Shane Richardson, Managing Director of Alcohol & Coffee added: “We saw a great opportunity to add this outstanding craft beer range into our portfolio, along with the team led by Brendan and Gabrielle who have built Feral Brewing Co to be recognised as one the most respected craft breweries in Australia.
“They have done an amazing job with Feral, in our opinion it’s the flag bearer for craft brewing and we are really looking forward to working with Brendan, the team and the brands to see what we can do together in the future.”
Coca-Cola Amatil is looking to expand Feral's distribution throughout Australia in 2018.
Will Feral still be part of the IBA?
According to Varis, Feral will continue to be an independent craft brewery as defined by the IBA.
"We look forward to continuing our association as active members and supporters as well as promoting the craft beer industry more broadly.
"There will be no change or our existing beers or the brewers behind them and we look forward to being more prolific than ever before when it comes to new releases."
When Four Pines was sold, Chris McNamara, the Executive Director of IBA issued a statement saying: “The sale to AB InBev will mean that 4 Pines is no longer eligible to be a member of the Independent Brewers Association and we will begin the process of terminating their membership at the next board meeting.”