Lion has announced the closure of its 160-year-old West End brewery in South Australia from June next year.
“West End has been operating well below its full production capacity for some time now and unfortunately this is no longer viable,” the company said in a statement. “We have come to this proposal as the best way to ensure we have a sustainable brewing network for the future.”
Lion said Australia’s beer market has declined by about 20 per cent during the past decade as drinkers prefer other beverages, including wine.
“Our input costs have continued to rise against this backdrop of declining volume, and a further drop in draught beer sales as a result of the pandemic.
“This is a sad day for the West End team, Lion and South Australia.”
The company anticipates retaining about one third of the plant’s staff in sales and sponsorship roles, but will work with the remainder to help them find new jobs or develop new skills.
A West End Re-Skilling Fund has been established with up to $1 million in addition to negotiated redundancy payments and the brewer says it will work with the South Australian Government on a support package.
West End brewery takes up an 8.2ha space on Port Rd, Thebarton, near North Adelaide.