Panhead in limbo as Australian distributor walks

Panhead Custom Ales

Panhead Custom Ales

The local agency set up to distribute Panhead Custom Ales in Australia has this week announced the relationship is coming to an end.

Craft Market Pty Ltd was an entirely separate, Australian-owned entity headquartered in Melbourne and managed by Paul Attwood, an expatriate New Zealander with a family connection to Panhead founders Mike and Anna Neilson.

The distributor’s future had become uncertain after Panhead announced in May that it had been acquired by Lion.

That uncertainty was put to rest this week when Craft Market sent a memorandum to Australian Panhead customers informing them the arrangement was over.

“It is of great regret for us that you are receiving this email to inform you that Craft Market will no longer be distributing and representing Panhead Custom Ales in Australia,” reads the memo obtained by Australian Brews News.

“This decision has not come lightly as all of us here at Craft Market have lived and breathed the brand here in Australia and loved being a part of the vibrant craft beer industry.

“With the sale of Panhead in NZ our long term future of representing Panhead became uncertain and therefore we had to make the unfortunate decision to close the business,” it said.

Panhead Custom Ales' distinctive cans

Panhead Custom Ales’ distinctive cans

Industry sources suggest the distributor may have decided to terminate the relationship after being unable to secure a commitment from Lion about its long-term viability.

Lion to distribute Panhead
A Lion spokesman told Australian Brews News: “It’s always been our intention to ensure that Panhead remains available to Aussie beer lovers.

“Unfortunately our Australian distributors have made the decision to cease Panhead distribution, effective immediately.

“In the medium term, distribution will be picked up by Lion, and we are currently working through various options to ensure that we keep Panhead available in Australia in the short term.

“We’ll provide more details as soon as it is available,” he said.

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