Coca-Cola to sell interest in Australian Beer Co.

Coca Cola Europacific Partners Australia is selling its interest in Australian Beer Co. to its joint venture partner Casella Family Brands.

The companies have been in partnership since 2012 when the then-Coca-Cola Amatil signed a deal with Casella to take over its brewing operations and focus on contract brewing. Prior to the deal, Coca-Cola had been blocked from entering the beer industry following a non-compete clause in agreements with SAB Miller, according to reports.

However, major changes have been underway at Coca-Cola in the past 12 months since being acquired by its European counterpart which have seen it move away strategically from beer. The company’s focus going forward will be on spirits, RTDs and non-alcoholic beverages, it said in the announcement today.

As part of this move, Brews News revealed late last year that the multinational brandwould be selling Feral Brewing Co. which it bought in 2017 as it attempted to grow its beer market share.

Australian Beer Co. brews a number of brands including Mighty Craft’s Better Beer, which debuted in the GABS Hottest 100 Craft Beers in the number six spot over the weekend, as well as Yenda Beer, although websites for the latter beer brand are currently unavailable.

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Coca-Cola Europacific Partners Australia (CCEP) today announced it has agreed to sell its interest in the Australian Beer Co. (ABCo) to joint venture partner, Casella Family Brands (CFB), following CCEP’s earlier decision to exit the production, sale and distribution of beer and Magners cider products in Australia.

Vice President & General Manager, Australia, Pacific & Indonesia, Peter West, said the decision to sell its interest in ABCo followed a strategic review of CCEP Australia’s arrangements relating to beer and apple cider to focus on its spirits, alcohol ready-to-drink and non-alcohol ready-to-drink portfolios.

“The launch of the Australian Beer Co. joint venture in 2013 was our re-entry into the beer market in Australia. ABCo brewed its own brands at the brewery located next door to the Casella winery in Yenda, New South Wales. With CCEP’s exit from the Australian beer and apple cider categories in Australia, the decision to sell our interest in ABCo was the natural next step,” said Mr West.

“Casella Family Brands is a highly respected partner, and when we approached them as part of our strategic review of our beer and cider strategy, John and his team were keen to explore the opportunity to take full ownership of ABCo. We have had a terrific partnership with Casella Family Brands for almost a decade now and exit on good terms,” added Mr West. “We genuinely wish them the very best for the future.”

Commenting on the transaction, John Casella, Managing Director of Casella Family Brands, said, “ABCo is an exciting business led by a state-of-the-art brewery, and we welcomed the opportunity to acquire full ownership. We will endeavor to maintain the excellent relationships the CCEP team has established with customers in the beer and cider category in Australia. We have enjoyed partnering with CCEP to grow ABCo’s business, and we both leave the joint venture arrangement on excellent terms”.

Casella Family Brands will take over full ownership of ABCo from 1 July 2022.

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