Southern Bay Brewing placed in liquidation

Geelong’s Southern Bay Brewing has been placed in liquidation.

According to an insolvency notice published to ASIC, Southern Bay Brewing Co Pty Ltd, trading as Southern Bay Brewing, appointed liquidators from Pitcher Partners Advisory yesterday.

In the minutes of a meeting of creditors published on the ASIC website, a general meeting was called with the “sole member” of Southern Bay, Nick Warming, who owns 100 per cent of the shares in the business, in attendance.

It was decided that because of its liabilities, and concerns about the company’s solvency which required an immediate resolution, the business could not continue to trade and that it was appropriate to wind up the brewery.

Update: Liquidator Michael Basedow from Pitcher Partners told Brews News that the liquidation was still in its very early stages but issues with Southern Bay have been ongoing for a number of years.

“A couple of things brought it to a head,” he explained. “Turnover dropped significantly over the past few years. A lot is COVID-related and it’s a competitive market and this particular brewery has an ageing plant in need of an upgrade, and obviously needed some funds spent on it to bring it up to date.

“The last straw was that the lead brewer had recently moved on, so that brought it to a head. I think there were a couple of options with respect to replacing the brewer but with all the other factors at play that was put off until the decision was made.”

Southern Bay recently lost its head brewer and advertised for an experienced brewery manager or head brewer to run its brewing operations back in August.

“As far as a sale, we’re getting some info together to see what options there are and there are a couple of parties at play there, so we’re just working through that.”

The last post on the brewery’s Facebook page was on 1st July, when it said that the brewery was closed to the public while construction work was being undertaken.

In November 2020 Southern Bay was also involved with Worksafe Victoria, the state’s workplace safety regulator. The organisation told Brews News then that it was “making enquiries” into the brewery.

It was not the first time Southern Bay has encountered trouble. In 2019 the brewery was at the centre of controversy over an offensive social media post which featured a meme, having already faced an ABAC panel for another social media blunder.

The backlash led to then-chief executive officer Nick Warming resigning from the company, however he remained as the majority owner of the business.

Southern Bay was one of the first wave of craft brewers in Australia and has been in operation for 30 years, having previously traded as Geelong Brewing Co. It says on its website that it is “still proudly independent and family owned”, and in recent years it has been focused on contract brewing.

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