Lion to close James Boag’s Visitor Centre
Lion has announced the closure of the James Boag’s Visitor Centre in Launceston, citing COVID-19 impacts, rise of costs and “overall decline” in beer consumption.
The company released a statement today explaining that trading of the visitor centre, including hospitality and tour offerings will cease from 31st January.
“The last few years have been very challenging for our business with overall beer consumption in decline, rising input costs and the impacts of COVID-19 on the hospitality and tourism industries,” the statement read.
“As a result, we have taken the opportunity to re-assess our offering at Boag’s and made the difficult decision to close our permanent hospitality and tour offering to keep our focus on brewing great tasting beer for Australia’s pubs, clubs, bars and liquor retailers.”
The company acknowledged impacted staff and noted that the closure will not affect brewing operations at the brewery.
“We are incredibly grateful to these team members who have warmly hosted visitors and shared their passion for Boag’s with locals and tourists alike,” the company said.
“We will be working with those impacted to offer our support, including through redeployment opportunities within the Lion business where possible.”
While the statement cites COVID-19 as a contributing factor to the closure, lack of social media presence suggests the brand has not been a priority for the company, with only five posts shared across 2021 and 2022 combined.
Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff shared a similar sentiment suggesting the state’s economic response to the pandemic has been strong with “record numbers”.
“I understand the mainland owner has cited the impact of COVID-19 as justification for this decision, but with our economy strong and visitors returning in record numbers, this does not appear to pass the pub test,” the Premier said in a statement.
“The Government has reached out to Lion management this morning to better understand the reasoning for this decision and we stand ready to assist where we can to allow this iconic Launceston experience to continue into the future.”
Lion first acquired the James Boag brand in 2007, for $325 million from San Miguel Corporation.
In 2016, the company downscaled the brewery’s production output by 20 million litres, which left 39 roles redundant.