Wayward Brewing Co, which entered into administration on the 2nd of January this year, reached an agreement yesterday the 24/01 at their second creditors’ meeting at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
The agreement will see both Wayward Brewing, along with co-owned distribution business Local Drinks Collective, returning to regular operation under its existing owners after creditors approved a financial restructuring of the companies.
“We are grateful that our restructuring proposal has been approved by the creditors and we thank the administrator, our business partners and our employees for their support during the restructuring process, which has been the most stressful time of Wayward’s 10+ year history,” said Peter Philip, sole director of both companies.
“It is a great result that nearly 40 jobs have been saved in the process.”
Peter will personally aid in funding the DOCA, taking measures such as remortgaging his house to do so. Wayward entered into voluntary administration with a reported $2 million of debt to trade creditors, statutory creditors (including the ATO), and shareholders.
“The last few years have been an extremely challenging time across our industry and for the wider economy,” said Wayward’s founder Peter Philip.
“However, we are confident that the restructuring will ensure the business is on firm footing and we can look ahead with confidence.”
Wayward Brewing was the latest Australian independent beer label to enter into administration, extending a concerning trend that first became apparent in 2023. The administrator appointed to the process, DBA Reconstruction & Advisory, has had previous experience in the sector over just the last few months, handling the voluntary administration of 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 and Wayward all share various brand similarities, such as hitting the sub-$100 price point per case for many of their beers.
Increased expenses paired with declining consumer demand are largely responsible for the accumulating pressure on independent breweries. Peter Philip has stated that Wayward’s input costs increased between 25% and 30% over the past two years, including 50%+ increases in transport and electricity costs.
“If people knew how much the independent craft brewing industry was hurting, they would know to turn the can over and look for that seal. That would change the buying decisions, because I don’t think anybody really wants to lose the diversity of beer that we have in this country,” he said.
Wayward has continued to operate as normal throughout the three week administration process.
“Beer production, sales and distribution and taproom operations have not missed a beat since we entered administration,” said Peter.
“I am looking forward to putting this difficult period behind us and I look forward to a great future for Wayward and LDC.”