Lion to close Tiny Mountain
Lion has announced it will not renew the lease for its Townsville-based Tiny Mountain hospitality venue and microbrewery, with the venue to close in April.
As part of this change, Lion will also cease production of the Tiny Mountain brand.
The move comes as the Kirin-owned brewery undergoes a major review of its craft operations that could see further restructuring.
In a statement the Lion’s Queensland sales director, Pat Donohue said the brand had not managed to grow in the region.
“From the outset, Tiny Mountain was created to be a great local brand that would be enjoyed here in the region and beyond North Queensland,” he said.
“While the venue has been embraced by locals, despite the dedication and passion of our amazing local team, unfortunately, sales of Tiny Mountain have not grown as strongly as initially hoped beyond the venue.
“We will be working with our team to provide opportunities for redeployment to alternate roles across Lion or, supporting them to find alternate employment in the Townsville area through our hospitality network,” Donohue said.
Struggles for Lion
The move to close Tiny Mountain comes after the 2020 closure of the Byron Bay Brewery, acquired by Lion in 2016, citing COVID as a reason.
The Byron Bay brand continues with a lager and increasing focus on seltzer, a category that has failed to fire in the local market despite its strength overseas.
Prior to its purchase of Stone & Wood and its brands, Lion had sought to differentiate itself from its competitor, the Asahi-owned CUB, by seeking to incubate brands. Asahi/CUB’s approach had been to acquire rapidly growing craft brands including Green Beacon, 4 Pines, Mountain Goat, Balter and Pirate Life.
By contrast, Lion had largely attempted to cultivate its own brands, launching Eumundi, Tiny Mountain and Bevy, with the hope of growing the brands following the relative successes of its Kosciuszko and Furphy brands. This strategy had not appeared to dampen the success of the CUB acquired craft portfolio.
The purchase of Stone & Wood was widely viewed as an attempt to counter CUB’s growing dominance in the craft beer draught space in the face of the limited growth of its own brands.
In January Lion announced it would be closing the visitor centre at its Tasmanian Boag’s Brewery before backflipping after the Tasmanian government offered the brewery a million-dollar grant to remain open.
Retail sales data highlighted Lion’s struggles in the beer market, with the company only managing three of the top ten beer brands, compared to rival CUB’s six, including juggernaut Great Northern.