Black Hops invests $3m in packaging expansion

Gold Coast brewery Black Hops is set to start work on a $3 million packaging upgrade at its Biggera Waters production brewery.

The brewery has invested in a Master C-Block 24/4 Filler and Seamer as part of its packaging upgrade supplied by CFT Australasia. Black Hops says the investment will see its output rise from 65 cans per minute to 250 cans per minute.

This would result in a “significant increase” in the volume of beer going to market, according to the award-winning brewery, and frees up space for further tank space which could see capacity grow to 10 million litres annually in the coming years.

Black Hops’ packaging expansion is being funded through a recent $1.6 million fundraising round among existing investors, and the rest will be funded through cash and debt funding, according to Black Hops co-founder Dan Norris.

Norris also suggested another equity crowdfunding round later in the year could help to contribute to its expansion costs, after successful previous rounds which helped it open its Black Hops II venue and brewery.

CFT is managing the expansion which will include end-to-end solutions including a depalletiser, an ionised air can rinsing system and carton packer.

Black Hops said that the new system will also have quality benefits, including reducing dissolved oxygen levels during canning.

Head brewer Michael ‘Govs’ McGovern said this will ensure beer is as fresh as possible with the added benefit of increasing shelf life.

“Our new filling and seaming solution will deliver us a world-class benchmark in how we can achieve this,” he said.

The latest expansion comes following a major upgrade to brewing capacity last year, in which it invested in six additional 18,000-litre fermenters, four 10,000-litre fermenters and another brite tank, doubling annual capacity to just over 4 million litres. In addition, Black Hops acquired Brisbane’s Semi-Pro Brewing at the end of last year giving it a base in the state capital.

The fit-out and installation of the packaging line will be overseen by CFT and is set to commence in June, with completion expected by the end of 2021.

“It frees up a lot of space for us, the existing coldroom and packaging line will go and gives us the option to add more tanks to get capacity to somewhere around 10 million litres a year,” explained Dan Norris.

“But there are more sheds we could expand into and this line could extend beyond that.”

The expansion follows similar moves by breweries across Australia, which took advantage of the downtime during COVID-19 to plan and execute expansion programmes.

Kaiju, Cheeky Monkey, Rocky Ridge and Your Mates Brewing are some of the most recent to have announced major growth plans, whilst Moffat Beach Brewing recently opened the doors to its production brewery.

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