KAIJU Beer has revealed major expansion plans as its sales climb towards one million litres this financial year.
Brothers Nat and Callum Reeves established KAIJU Beer in Dandenong, Victoria in 2013, while the Australian craft beer industry was still in its infancy.
In 2016, the brewery launched Australia’s first tropical pale, known as KAIJU KRUSH! It remains the brand’s most popular beer, with more than 3.5 million cans sold in 2019 alone, signalling a 35% growth.
“We have been constantly expanding since the end of 2016,” Callum said. “Probably the major thing was expansion into the second building in early 2018.
“When we found our first site in 2015 – after a couple of years gypsy brewing – we thought it would be big enough for at least 10 years expansion. After about 18 months we had equipment jammed in as tightly as we could and realised we would need to either expand into an adjoining space or move to a new site, which was a daunting idea to say the least.
“After canvassing the neighbours we were lucky enough that the owner of the business directly behind ours was looking to retire in the next year or so and we were able to take over their building, doubling our floor space just by knocking a hole in the wall between the two factories. We now have enough space for considerably more expansion, although I won’t make promises about how long it will be before we are on the look out again.
“We are currently commissioning the new brewhouse while we are planning our packaging line expansion, which will likely happen later this year. Also, we started with six fermenters and have been adding new tanks 2 or 3 at a time and we’re now at 18 and planning to order more in the next couple of months.”
Reeves (pictured above) said a new brewpub was also in the works and will be located in Huntingdale “as long as it gets through town planning”. It will be open to the public to allow customers to enjoy the KAIJU Beer range with it’s best-paired foods.
KAIJU’s key to success
According to Reeves, KAIJU has forged its identity in the craft beer industry with bold and colourful illustrations of creatures and monsters on its packaging.
He believes the company’s growth is largely due to the brand’s extremely individual artwork.
“The artwork has been a huge part of the brand’s success,” he said. “We found this niche area that we could work with which highlights the uniqueness of the KAIJU Beer brand and its ability to stand out among other Australian beers.”
KAIJU Beer engaged New York-based illustrator and designer Mikey Burton to create a design that would go against generic beer packaging; the end result was a mythical monster drawing cues from old Japanese movies.
“There’s a lot more colourful brands out there than when we started, but we’re laser-focused on staying relevant all the time,” Reeves said. “We want to make sure our customers are having fun with us because we have fun producing the beer and the content we create, it’s a holistic brand experience.”