Konvoy converts NZ's Good George to keg rental

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Keg pooling provider Konvoy has converted New Zealand’s Good George Brewing Co to its keg rental model.

Good George’s Brewing Director Brian Watson told Brews News that growth had forced the business to reconsider the ownership model Watson told Brews News at the SEA Brew Conference last week.

“It was a business decision based on the fact that we’ve needed to be continuing to grow with kegs and we looked hard at the investment or what it took to be the owner of kegs,” he said.

“When we looked at how many kegs we needed we thought, ‘thought hang on, there’s gotta be a better way’.

Watson said COVID had changed the owning equation for him.

“We had talked to Konvoy for a while and previously it hadn’t made sense to where we were going, but I guess post-COVID the world’s changed and we’re very heavily focused on draft in our business,” he said.

“So it was it was a very, very well considered decision because it was it’s a lot of kegs over a long timeframe, so we had to make sure we were making the right decision.”

Watson said an additional factor was it meant staff didn’t need to be chasing kegs.

“We don’t have to have staff chasing kegs all over the country,” he said.

“We get calls from other breweries in the South Island saying, ‘we have 25 of your kegs here. What do you want to do with them?’

“It’s expensive to ship stuff around New Zealand, and then more importantly getting kegs back.

“So having the one-way keg option makes it so that we can not run out of kegs in November, which is incredibly important to every brewing business.”

Konvoy’s General Manager of Technology, Mark Eggins, said it was a significant deal for the company.

“It will be our largest deal in New Zealand,” he said. “Good George has been a keg owner for a long time.”

He said Konvoy had a number of questions to answer to secure the conversion.

“They had the usual concerns about what was in the kegs prior to them coming to them and how they manage that,” he told Brews News.

“And they run a lot of their own venues as well, so did they really need a rental model to move kegs through their own system where they had a lot of control.”

“But [New Zealand General Manager] Tom Madams was able to show the benefits of what a rental model will do for their business, to take the worry out of any sort of keg requirement.”

He said the contract was a big boost for Konvoy in the country.

“It really gives us scale, it grows the keg rental market in New Zealand significantly.”

“That adds a lot of extra volume to what we can do which will add a lot of extra benefits to us that we can then pass on to our customers around logistic saving and time in the market.”

Eggins said it was a win for sustainability and the circular economy.

“We didn’t have a lot of breweries in the Hamilton area, so now we can link that market up with the Auckland market, which makes stainless steel kegs a real circular economy.”

The win follows Konvoy’s announcement in September that it is expanding into the UK and Europe on the back of several new appointments.

It also follows market speculation that investment bank Credit Suisse was looking into a significant capital raise for the business to add to last year’s $30-million capital raise designed to “accelerate the execution of Konvoy’s growth strategies”.

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