Hawkers enters into voluntary administration 

February 13, 2024
By Cody Profaca

Melbourne-based Hawkers has become the latest brewery to enter into voluntary administration, continuing a worrying trend that first became apparent in early 2023. 

Hawkers, which is considered one of the largest and most esteemed independent breweries in the country, includes both the Hawkers and Rover brands, both of which have reported consistent growth over recent years. 

DBA Reconstruction & Advisory has been appointed as administrators. DBA Advisory has recent experience assisting with the voluntary administrations of Bad Shepherd, Dainton, and Wayward Brewing in recent months.

A media statement released by the firm said the “restructuring was to help facilitate a financial restructuring of the business.

“DBA Advisory is supporting the continued operation of Hawkers, so employees and customers should consider it business as usual,” it continued.

“There will be no impact to ongoing production and distribution as a result of this appointment.”

Increased restrictions on market access along with significant increases in production and distribution costs have driven the restructuring. Mazen Hajjar, founder and managing director at Hawkers, also cited the growth in craft beer ‘homebrands,’ produced by major retailers, as another catalyst for Hawkers’ current financial situation. 

“Post Covid has been a challenging period with bigger players increasingly restricting access to taps and shelf space, combined with broader economic pressures, including increased input costs and taxes,” he said.

Both increases in tax and the implications of Victoria’s new container deposit scheme (CDS), which is estimated to have added upwards of $3 to every case of beer, also contributed.

“However, we are confident that the restructuring will ensure the business is in a stronger position to fight these challenges going forward,” said Mazen.

DBA Reconstruction & Advisory have previous recent experience in managing the voluntary administration of Australian craft breweries, including the recent successful restructuring of Sydney’s Wayward Brewing that saw it exit administration under existing management and ownership on the 24th of January.

Prior to Wayward, the firm had worked with Victoria’s Dainton Beer and Bad Shepherd Brewing. The Dainton and Bad Shepherd cases followed in the wake of Queensland’s Ballistic Beer Co, which was placed into administration in January 2023 with debts in excess of $5 million, including $2 million to the ATO.

Interestingly, Dainton, Bad Shepherd, Ballistic, Wayward and Hawkers all share various brand similarities, such as hitting the sub-$100 price point per case for many of their beers.

Hawkers, which is celebrating its ninth birthday this month, will continue production and distribution as normal throughout the process.

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