Indie brewers mull Feral Brewing eligibility

The IBA has put its decision on ice

Feral Brewing Company is confident it remains ‘independent’, but the Independent Brewers Association appears yet to be convinced.

Read more: Brendan Varis interview here

This afternoon the IBA issued a short statement in response to the news that Feral had been acquired by Coca-Cola Amatil.

“The Independent Brewers Association would like to congratulate Feral Brewing Co, in particular Brendan and Gabi, on the sale of the business to Coca-Cola Amatil,” said executive officer Chris McNamara.

“We are currently investigating what the sale means for Feral’s eligibility to remain a member of the Independent Brewers Association and will make further comment once these investigations are complete.”

The WA brewer was far more emphatic about its eligibility in its own sale announcement earlier on.

“Feral will continue to be an independent craft brewery as defined by the IBA and… we look forward to continuing our association as active members and supporters as well as promoting the craft beer industry more broadly,” boss Brendan Varis said.

The issue at stake is whether beer brands under the “control” of Coca-Cola Amatil combine such that the company’s total volume of production exceeds the IBA’s annual production cap of 40 million litres.

Publicly available records show that CCA’s Fijian division Paradise Beverages alone has annual beer volume equating to almost 24 million litres.

CCA would easily exceed the 40 million cap if you add on all the beer produced by its Australian Beer Company joint venture.

However, its proprietary brands Yenda and Feral are actually quite small in volume terms. It is the international brands that ABCo makes under licence –such as Coors and the recently added Miller family – that are its biggest contributors to volume.

Feral and CCA have apparently done their homework to ascertain that these contract brewed brands are not “controlled” by CCA for the purposes of the IBA definition, and that the WA brewer’s membership is therefore assured.

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