Growth brewing in the craft beer market
Investors thirsting for an ASX beer exposure have been left largely unsated since Fosters/Carlton United Breweries and Lion Nathan were subsumed by foreign buyers a few years back. Coca Cola Amatil (CCL) has long held beer and spirits ambitions that have never quite come to fruition, but in any event the bottler looks headed to offshore ownership as well. But as any self respecting hipster would know, all the action is taking place in the ‘craft’ or ‘boutique’ sector and some ASX players are moving to the groove of the burgeoning but difficult market. ‘Craft’ of course does not necessarily imply independent: Lion owns the craft-ish Furphy brand and Little Creatures and Asahi owns Mountain Goat. The problem for the genuine independents is that they can produce megalitres of amber goodness with floral hoppy tones, but without decent distribution they are doomed to be a backyard operation. The good news is that while the mainstream beer market is as flat as a night man’s hat, the craft market is growing like hops in a warm wet spring.
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