Konvoy expands into Europe

Coverage of Drinktec is supported by HPA – focused on a sustainable future of quality hops, beer and brewing education.

Australian-based keg pooling provider Konvoy has announced it is expanding its business into the UK and Europe on the back of several new appointments.

Leading the appointments, Michael Campbell, formerly CFO of the Rockpool Dining Group, joined Konvoy in August as CFO to “strengthen its senior team as it undertakes its next phase of growth”.

Christian Barden, formerly Global Managing Director and CEO of Kegstar, has joined the company as CEO UK and Europe.

Konvoy Managing Director and Founder Adam Trippe-Smith said the new appointments run alongside “considerable growth plans for the Konvoy business”.

“We are excited to launch officially in the UK and Europe in early 2023 as we continue to disrupt the global keg industry one stainless steel keg at a time.”

Konvoy made the announcement at Drinktec in Munich, where the company is showcasing its keg pooling business, together with its keg tracking and monitoring IoT solution, Katch.

He said no one had given Europe a proper concerted effort and Konvoy wasn’t “going to die wondering; we’ll give it a proper crack.”

“We’ll go in with three things: pooling, which is our core business and we’ll also offer leasing, if that’s what [brewers] want.

“But importantly, on both of those, we’ve got tracking, so if brewers choose to remain proud asset owners, then we’ve got a role to play in helping them track their assets better.

Trippe-Smith said Konvoy provided an attractive offer to European brewers who owned kegs because its tracking device, called Katch, could be used by businesses that wanted to run their own fleets of kegs but still track them.

“What we’re providing is an ecosystem of hardware, software and firmware and connectivity,” he said.

“We’ve sort of bundled it up and made it easy. But we’ve also got experience because we’ve got our own fleet.

“And so we’ve proven to potential customers that it does work; ‘here’s a map with 130,000 kegs on it’.”

“It works and we’ve got it down to an economic price point where we think it makes sense.”

Opportunities from COVID

Trippe-Smith said the move into Europe came at an opportune time for the business with COVID highlighting to traditional European brewers a problem they had long ignored.

“It’s the first time in history that every keg in the world has stopped moving,” he said.

“And so what it did is it showed the fleet owners that they really had no idea where their kegs were.

“While they were out running around in the supply chain, they were out of mind out of sight. But when they suddenly had to come out of lockdowns and start the breweries up and get those kegs back to drain the fermenters, they didn’t know where they were and they couldn’t get them back in time.

“And it was creating bottlenecks because they didn’t have enough kegs to fill and they didn’t know where they were to go and chase them.

“So I think COVID has been helpful in putting it fresh in people’s minds that kegs are a problem. And they were just ignoring them. And so now there’s an opportunity to see if it’s a way to do things better,” he said.

U.S. on the agenda, and eventual IPO

Trippe-Smith said the business hadn’t been set up to be sold, but that organic growth would see it look at the United States, and an eventual IPO.

“We’ve set [Konvoy] up to grow both organically and through acquisition,” he said.

“We’ve already done two small acquisitions, and I’ve said to every investor that you should assume and think about your exit or liquidity event at some stage being an IPO.

“To do that, we need scale. We’ve had to have a good story. We’ve got to get good market presence.

“Now’s not the time to think about an IPO; we will focus on UK and Europe for the next two or three years. The US is on the agenda, but one thing at a time.

“And then at some point, it’ll make sense to provide value, to invest in equity, but also the management team. Everyone receives options in the business after 12 months of service. Everyone becomes an owner.

“And it’s important at some point that that’s worth something. So IPO is the logical way for that to happen.”

Konvoy’s announcement follows a new keg investment of approximately AU$10 million in the Australia and New Zealand market, supporting continued customer wins in the region.

Other appointments

Joining Campbell and Barden at Konvoy are:

  • Chris Beardow, Operations Director, UK,
  • Richard Atkinson, Business Development Director, UK
  • Appointment of Tom Meakin, Business Development Director, UK
  • Appointment of Heiko Wiebel as Business Development Director, Europe


Back to News