Gage Roads "outperforms market"


Gage Roads Brewing Co said in an update to the ASX today that it has outperformed the market following strong sales recovery in May and June.

Packaged sales were “largely unaffected” during the period in which venues and suppliers were heavily affected by COVID-19 restrictions.

Listed brewer Gage Roads announced earlier in the year that packaged beer sales had surged at the beginning of March after strong customer demand, balanced by softer sales in April.

As expected, COVID restrictions mainly impacted draught sales which Gage says are now back on track, with strong keg demand due to the re-opening of on-premise trade sooner than expected.

Western Australia saw pubs in the state open ahead of other states in May which has benefitted the WA brewer, despite social distancing measures remaining in place.

First half sales were impacted through the loss of keg sales for April and May with returned kegs credited to support customers.

Gage Roads has been undertaking ambitious growth plans announced prior to its 15th birthday last year which will see it move to grow its presence and sales on the east coast, and unify its brands under the Good Drinks umbrella.

As a result, it has achieved “good growth” in key east coast markets across these Good Drinks brands including Matso’s, Gage Roads, Atomic Beer Project, Alby and Hello Sunshine. In addition Matso’s, which was acquired in 2018 by Gage Roads,has diversified into the emerging trend of hard seltzers having launched a trio of seltzer-style beverages.

More recently, June sales are surging in WA while competitors – such as big brewers CUB and Lion, – are experiencing shortages and logistical challenges stemming from their lack of WA production facilities, it said.

Gage said the net impact of COVID on draught volumes will be determined at year-end.

Brewery operations were relatively unaffected during the period with new packaging lines up and running, according to the market update.

However stadium volumes were clearly affected and Gage said it had renegotiated terms to “ensure minimal financial impact”.

It said total Good Drinks brands were up 25 per cent in the year to date with positive momentum for the next few years.

Following the announcement of the Atomic Beer Project as a spinout brand, Gage Roads also told the market today that a new core brand will be launched in August 2020.

Meanwhile the Atomic Beer Project brewery and taproom in Redfern, which marks Gage’s first foray into east coast venues, is complete and ready to start trading, with test brewing and commissioning compete.

However COVID restrictions have delayed the launch and it will now target a September opening date for the site.

It also said it was evaluating further sits in NSW, QLD and WA for potential venue growth.

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