The owners of Rocks Brewing have taken their brewery off the market. Earlier this year, they announced the brewery and venue in Alexandria were for sale, although planned to continue making beers under the Rocks banner.
Since then, the brewery has picked up a trophy for Champion Specialty Beer at the Craft Beer Awards, as well as a gold medal for its flagship Hangman Pale Ale.
In a statement released this afternoon, founder and managing director Mark Fethers said he had received plenty of interest but that "the offers just did not fit", with the brewery "too big for some of the smaller breweries looking to expand and too small for some of the bigger brands".
He said: “This was never about selling out, I never wanted to put the brewery up for sale in the first place but we had to due to contracts and heads of agreements with our investor. Our investor would still like to move on and I will be looking for, hopefully, a local Australian investor that has a group of pubs or outlets that would benefit both parties.
"Having the brewery on the market has hurt our sales very badly as the rumours and crap that other sales reps and breweries in the industry have spread around have seen us lose a lot of taps."
In the statement, he highlighted upcoming changes at the brewery, including the sale of the brewery's bottling line and investment in larger fermenters to meet contract demand – a side of the business they plan to expand – and smaller tanks to give Rocks' brewers greater "flexibility and creativity in brewing some smaller batches”. They are also looking to hire several new staff, including a replacement for departing head brewer Matt Cuthbert.
Mark added: “Rocks Brewing Co is not going away and never was."
Media Statement in full
Rocks Brewing Company has decided after 5 months to take the brewery and restaurant off the market. After a large amount of interest and offers from not only local and large international companies, the offers just did not fit.
The brewery seemed to be too big for some of the smaller breweries looking to expand and too small for some of the bigger brands trying to expand or enter the markets.
“This was never about selling out, I never wanted to put the brewery up for sale in the first place but we had too due to contracts and heads of agreements with our investor. Our investor would still like to move on and I will be looking for hopefully a local Australian investor that has a group of pubs or outlets that would benefit both parties. Having the brewery on the market has hurt our sales very badly as the rumours and crap that other sales reps and breweries in the industry have spread around have seen us lose a lot of taps”, said Mark Fethers (Founder / Managing Director).
“There are a lot changes happening over the next couple of months before the end of the year with the sale of our bottling line and investing in some larger fermenters to keep up with contract demand and also expanding capacity, as well as some smaller tanks to give our brewers some flexibility and creativity in brewing some smaller batches”.
“Rocks Brewing Co is not going away and never was. We are changing our strategy a little and we will be looking to rebuild our entire brewing team and will be looking for a Head Brewer as well as 2 x assistant brewers to join the team. With the soon departure of Matt Cuthbert (Head Brewer), we will be looking to expand our capacity and we are also looking for a sales rep to continue servicing our loyal customers as well as expanding our keg business. Matt has been with us for almost 4 years and is moving onto a new project with a new start up brewery where he will help build and design from the start. We wish him and Emma all the best in the new chapter of their lives. It is going to be an entire new team going forward”, said Mark.
What is next for Rocks Brewing Co? “We will continue to focus on making award winning beers as well as constant high quality of beer to the punters. There might be a little change of focus in the brewery as we look to expand our contract business however we will also focus on making some smaller speciality batch beers as well as focusing internal on our amazing hospitality venues”.
“As the Australian craft beer market changes we need to have a look and change our strategy on how to survive and compete in an industry that is controlled by big foreign beer companies and a government that gives no support to the little brewers. With new breweries opening up every day the pie is starting to get smaller. When craft beer companies sell their souls to the large foreign beer companies they now come under the umbrella contracts of these companies. Again just brain washing the general punters into buying beer that profits will go offshore as the majority of the beer in Australia does. Australian made and Australian owned means a lot to me but it worries me how many people really do not care anymore. There are exciting times ahead and we will be right there in the middle of it. Rocks Brewing Co is not going anywhere”, said Mark.