New CEO as Triple-1-Three rebuilds post COVID

After a tough couple of years for the company, Triple-1-Three’s CEO Al Taylor has stepped down as CEO to be replaced by current COO/CFO James Legge.

The Western Australian hospitality group owns and operates Otherside Brewhouse as well as a number of venues focusing on live music.

Taylor had served in that role since January 2019, having previously been part of the company’s advisory committee.

Incoming CEO James Legge is a Chartered Accountant with experience in company flotations, valuations, mergers and acquisitions at Arthur Andersen and Deutsche Bank, before co-founding Triple-1-Three in 2016.

In a media statement, Taylor said he would remain “very much involved with the group and brands he has built as a shareholder, non-executive Director and in a strategic advisory capacity”.

“Craft beer, live music, creativity, connecting people, there is so much to love about being part of Triple-1-Three. When I joined as CEO in early 2019, we set out to achieve a lot, and we have,” he said.

“We’ve built a brewery and an award-winning craft beer brand in Otherside. We opened Freo.Social and acquired Mojos.

“We created and delivered the ‘Welcome to the Otherside’, and Liberty Alive activations. We established key and unique partnerships, launched a highly successful crowdsourced funding campaign and have a number of other exciting commercial growth initiatives to be announced.”

Triple-1-Three chair, Mr Adam Levin, acknowledged Taylor’s contribution to the group.

“On behalf of Triple-1-Three , we extend a massive thank you to Al for his valuable contribution as CEO over the last four years and we look forward to his ongoing involvement at a Board level and his continued assistance with strategic projects.”

COVID and post COVID challenges

The group underwent an equity crowdfunding campaign in 2021, raising $1.1 million of a planned $2.5 million on a valuation of $24.28 million.

In its 2021 prospectus, the company noted a loss for the previous year of $323,000, though its fundraising page through Birchal was upbeat about the prospects post-COVID.

“Independent craft beer in Australia continues to see incredible growth. And, as the world opens up and energy builds for live music and group experiences, there is no better time to invest in bringing people together,” the investment pitch advised.

However, in its subsequent financial report filed with ASIC, the company’s losses had grown to $1.8 million for the year.

In his director’s report, Chairman Adam Levin acknowledged the tough year the company had faced.

Looking back to the time of the campaign and what has transpired since, there’s no question it was an eventful and unpredictable period which created an operating environment that was very tricky to navigate and presented the business with many challenges,” his report noted.

“Going into the 2021/22 financial year, there was a general sentiment we would start to see a progressive improvement in trading conditions toward the end of the financial year.

“This expectation was largely driven by the common perception in WA that COVID would be under control and that the WA Government would set in place a managed program to return to more ‘normal’ trading conditions along with a firm date for a border opening.

“It was, frankly, quite the opposite with the Omicron strain emerging and pulling WA right back into hard restrictions comprising periodic lockdowns, capacity restrictions, service restrictions, full venue closures, border closures, re-opening delays and more.”

Levin said the impacts saw a reduction in on-premise consumption, cancellation of performing artists and staff shortages.

Incoming CEO James Legge said despite the challenges, COVID had allowed the company to take stock.

“Obviously with Coronavirus it’s put a little break on things so now it’s good you know, it’s a good chance to kind of refresh our future plans. [Our] key partnerships in the cultural sector are key to the post-Coronavirus world for us.”

He said that while the country has opened up, there are still challenges, but they are challenges he’d prefer to those imposed by COVID.

“It’s great to be free of all the Coronavirus restrictions and have people able to travel and supply chains open up and our venues not being restricted,” he said.

“But there’s a whole lot of other challenges that come with business nowadays, and you have to work almost as hard as we worked over Coronavirus to make the business successful.

“But I have to say, I’ll take these conditions any day, having been locked down overnight and your business cash flows interrupted for months.

“So, you know, I rejoice in that kind of post-Coronavirus world because… it’s a challenging time, but an exciting time.”

He said that despite the losses of the previous financial year the company was headed in the right direction.

“It was a little bit slow at the start of the financial year, but we recorded our biggest ever result from a litreage perspective in November just gone.

“So, bit of a slow start, that really built up to a good result pre-Christmas.”

He said the capital raised through equity crowdfunding helped the business at the time, with upgrades to the brewery’s canning line and investment in some of the hospitality venues.

“We invested in some people, a new sales rep and a new Brewer and obviously put some into working capital during that last lockdown phase to get us through,” he said.

“So it was a bit of a combination of working capital and CapEx.”

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