Owners put Bendigo's Brookes Beer up for sale

The owners of Bengido-based brewery Brookes have put the business up for sale as they look to pursue other projects.

The brewery, which produces around 100,000 litres of Brookes-branded beer a year, supplies its Bohemian lager, American pale ale and IPA beers to the local area from its brewing site in Bendigo East.

The sale of the business as a going concern includes all brewery equipment, brand and products.

Current owners Doug Brookes and Melissa Church are selling to focus on other industry-related projects, saying they would want someone to take over who had the enthusiasm to grow the business.

The brewery primarily serves the local Bendigo market, but the cash-generative business is ripe for upscaling, said the pair.

Co-owner Doug spoke to Brews News about the sale saying “If we could sell to someone that has bigger aspirations for the brewery, it will be good for the business and for Bendigo”.

“We set ourselves an objective to get the brewery established and build the business in a local market. We’ve done that now so we thought, what next?

“Taking the brewery to the next level of growth is not that appealing to us, it would mean starting to grow outside our local area, and investing further. We could do it but we’re not as enthusiastic about it as someone else might be.

“The way I look at it, it’s a brewing business that makes money. The business has good cash flow and makes a profit so just from a numbers perspective, they wouldn’t have to build a brewery from scratch.”

The pair founded the business six years ago. Doug entered the beer market from a corporate background, working with the likes of Shell and Qantas.

“I’m a poster boy for the industry in some ways,” he said.

“I spent 20 years in big corporate. It was great fun and I really enjoyed it, until you get to your early 40s in those big corporations, then it’s not so much fun. I was an enthusiastic homebrewer, and I’d come out of corporate and didn’t want to go into it again,” he explained.

Brookes was 100 per cent equity funded from the get-go, having acquired its brewhouse from Croucher Brewing in Rotorua in New Zealand. Since then Brookes has focused on a changing array of seasonal beers.

Asked what aspects he thought had changed the most in the beer industry since Brookes was launched, Doug said that “Six years ago, people were generally interested in exploring beer”.

“New styles came along, brewing classic-style beers, English bitter, things like that, and IPAs were just starting to come on the scene. People were genuinely interested in a diverse tasting experience, but this has become less and less the case as time has gone on,” he continued.

“Change that I really want to see that I’ve not seen is brewers engaging existing audiences as well as new ones. We do it deliberately with the beers we brew, we engage conservative drinkers and how they approach beer. We’ve got to give them something that moves a little on, but not too far from what they know.

“There’s this fight for ‘weird’ that alienates people rather than bringing them across to beer.”

Doug said that while tastes in Bendigo may be a little more on the conservative side, people are always open to trying new things.

“There is something about local production – it means something to people in Bendigo that the beer is brewed in Bendigo and it also says something about the quality of the beer that it doesn’t get sent far.”

Interested parties should contact Doug Brooke via email at doug@brookesbeer.com.au or call him on 0405 928 662.

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