• Reviewing the 2024 Budget (l-r) Jim Chalmers, Anthony Albanese, Katy Gallagher. (Source: Instagram)
    Reviewing the 2024 Budget (l-r) Jim Chalmers, Anthony Albanese, Katy Gallagher. (Source: Instagram)

While Treasurer Jim Chalmers talked up Australia’s future and cherry-picked emerging industries to allocate funds to, the brewing and distilling industry felt the full brunt of a cold shoulder.

This week, Temple Brewing in Melbourne closed its doors after operating for 10 years. It followed Deeds Brewing last week, which failed to find an investor or buyer after going into voluntary administration in March.

More than 12 breweries have gone into VA in the last year, with Wayward, Hawkers, Akasha, Black Hops, Big Shed, Golden West, and Steel City either going into VA or folding this year.

In a flicker of good news, Black Hops Brewing, which had closed with debts of more than $7 million, has been acquired by a consortium of craft beer and independent brewery supporters.

There has been a perfect storm of factors for the industry that has made it incredibly difficult to operate, many out of the control of operators.

The Independent Brewers Association (IBA) said the federal government putting a freeze on excise and other measures were the only way out of the challenging conditions.

The IBA’s budget submission made a number of recommendations to help the industry. Freezing excise for two years was one, as was the creation of Beer Australia, an industry body similar to Wine Australia.  

The spirits sector was equally disappointed, with the budget showing spirits excise was down on estimates, but forward estimates predicting major growth ($180 million in 2024-25, $200 million for three years after that).

Australian Distillers Association CEO, Paul McLeay, said it was “hugely supportive” of the Future Made in Australia program, but “we hope the government does not miss the opportunity to scale other manufacturing industries like spirits, in pursuit of its more costly objectives in solar, green steel and minerals processing,” he said.

“We have 700-plus distilleries in this country making products that simply cannot be replicated by manufacturers in other nations, because they are singular expressions of Australian ingredients, provenance, and technical prowess.

“It won’t take billions of dollars of investment to kick-start our industry. We don’t need excessive subsidies, we just need modest adjustments to policy settings, starting with tax relief.

“We look forward to making this case for the Government in the food and beverage manufacturing inquiry over the coming months.”

More Budget 2024 coverage:

BUDGET 2024: A Future Made for certain industries

BUDGET 2024: Future Made priorities 

BUDGET 2024: Small Business features

BUDGET 2024: Innovation, education & training

Packaging News

In the first year of PKN’s Women in Packaging Awards programme, industry has stepped up with meaning. The response has been phenomenal, and the judges had their work cut out for them selecting the finalists from a competitive field of high-calibre nominees.

At The Hive Awards in Sydney today, the Best Packaging category was won by Don Smallgoods, part of George Weston Foods, for its resealable flow wrap pack for sandwich fillers and other smallgoods. This innovative packaging is a departure from the conventional thermoformed packs and addresses consumer demands for better functionality, sustainability, and product visibility.

Applications for the 2024 APCO Annual Awards are now open, and are open to all of industry to apply.