Asahi Beverages announces closure of Matilda Bay brewpub, brand to continue

May 7, 2024
By Cody Profaca

Asahi Beverages has announced that it will be closing the Matilda Bay brewpub on May 19, less than five years after the brand was revived. The change will not impact the current production and distribution of Matilda Bay’s beers.

Matilda Bay now falls under Asahi Beverages’ craft business arm Fire & Earth Ventures, which was rebranded from ZX Ventures in 2020 to “continue to be responsible for our craft and wine partners, Beer Collective and Brand Experiences.” 

Ryan Saundry, General Manager at Fire & Earth Ventures, said that the Matilda Bay brewpub no longer made sense logistically for the company. 

“While we have seen some good success with innovation from Matilda Bay over recent years, we have taken the difficult decision to close the Healesville brewpub and cease manufacturing operations there,” said Saundry in an emailed statement. 

“Most of Matilda Bay’s brewing will be transferred to Asahi Beverages’ other Fire & Earth Ventures sites across Australia, including Pirate Life in Port Adelaide. These other sites have the capability to manage Matilda Bay’s continued growth.

“This will help us simplify our operations and ensure Matilda Bay products are available to our customers, as well as enabling an enhanced focus on the growth of our other premium local breweries.”

The Matilda Bay brewpub was revived in 2019 by CUB and Phil Sexton, who originally founded Matilda Bay in 1983. 

“Restoring Matilda Bay to its rightful place as Australia’s leading craft beer is unfinished business for me,” said Sexton in 2019.

Carlton & United Breweries fully acquired Matilda Bay in 1990 for a sum of $23 million. Later, in 2015, CUB decided to close the Port Melbourne brewpub and move production to Cascade due to the fact that production had outgrown the facility.

Last week’s announcement will likely mark the final closure for the Port Melbourne venue.

“It’s always tough when a venture like this comes to an end,” said Sexton. 

“However, our partnership has been guided by a commitment to positive outcomes since the start. We’ve enjoyed several successes, though not without challenges, including navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished together.”

Asahi has indicated that it will actively support all existing team members that have been affected by the closure. 

The news also follows closely behind the closure of Asahi Beverages’ Green Beacon brewery in March last year. Green Beacon’s closure formed part of Asahi Beverages’ plan to continue Green Beacon’s strong growth trajectory by increasing brewing capacity across multiple sites, including at Pirate Life and 4 Pines. 

The green Beacons resulted in the loss of three full-time and two casual positions, with the remaining Geebung employees being transferred to the Teneriffe brewpub.

Share the content