Two Bays named Small Business of the Year

Victoria’s Two Bays Brewing Co. has won the Xero Australian Small Business of the Year ahead of hundreds of other businesses across the country.

Co-founder of Two Bays, Richard Jeffares, said that it was a proud moment after a challenging year.

“I think we’re more than just trying to make great beer. Making beer is what I refer to as the ticket to the dance, but the rest of it is how you operate as a business, your contribution to broader society, your team and from an investor perspective,” Jeffares explained.

“We’re really just a business, we like to think of ourselves in this industry as dramatically different and we are in an exciting industry, but it’s also about normalising it, and making people realise we’re not just a bunch of people sitting around drinking beer.”

Since the opening of its taproom in 2018, Two Bays has been finding its way in a competitive market with a key differentiator as a gluten-free brewery.

With growth of more than 80 per cent in 2021, a mixture of revenue streams enabled the brand to weather challenges of COVID-19. During the year it has overseen successful tap takeovers to bring Two Bays to new audiences and bolstered its range with the launch of a second gluten-free beer brand this year, GFB.

“Awards like Xero’s allow you to benchmark against a broader range of businesses in every single category,” said Jeffares.

“It wasn’t a really onerous application, which becomes a bit intimidating, but it covered a lot more than asking if you use Xero. It was about what we do from sustainability, marketing and business strategy points of view.

“The CEO of Xero basically acknowledged that business had a clear and focused business strategy, great marketing, with a focus around target market and customer, and around the sustainability and innovation we’re doing.”

The award is also a testament to Two Bays’ wider attitude to business.

“If your focus is on the next nitro peanut butter beer, that’s nice but it’s a short-term sugar hit. It’s not a sustainable model to me,” Jeffares said.

“We say we’re primarily a food manufacturer, and we just happen to be making an exciting type of food compared to other stuff.

“But really, it’s about utilising stainless as efficiently and effectively as possible and all those metrics are important to the cost of a litre of beer and a can from a packaging perspective. They are all the things that are important in building a sustainable business.”

Hear more about Two Bays Brewing Co. on the Beer is a Conversation podcast.

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