Gage Roads today announced it has bought fellow WA brewing company Matso's. In an announcement made via the ASX, it said it would be acquiring Matso’s brands from the Peirson-Jones family based in Broome in a move that will see the Matso’s range become part of Gage Roads’ portfolio of craft beers and ciders.
Gage Roads managing director John Hoedemaker said: “We have a long-standing relationship with the Peirson-Jones family, having provided brewing and packaging services for Matso’s since 2007. We’re therefore delighted to reach an agreement that will see Matso’s join the Gage Roads family.
“We’re looking forward to adding Matso’s to our portfolio and broadening our offering of high quality brands to our customers. The Peirson-Jones family has achieved terrific results with Matso’s, including the creation of Australia’s market leading Ginger Beer. We now have an exciting opportunity to position the brand for further growth through our national sales team.”
The Palmyra-based company is to pay $13.25 million for Matso's plus deferred consideration of up to an additional $2.8 million in cash or scrip subject to the achievement of performance criteria over a three-year period. Gage Roads is seeking to raise $10 million via the issue of 117.65 million new shares in the company.
The Peirson-Jones family will continue to own and operate the Matso’s brewpub in Broome (pictured below) through a licensing agreement for the foreseeable future. Co-founders Martin and Kim Peirson-Jones and their family launched Matso's in 2000, starting with a 200 litre setup in Broome before building a national brand on the back of some of the country's quirkier releases, including mango and chilli beers.
Martin Peirson-Jones said: “We are excited to reach an agreement with Gage Roads, an independent brewery that has the access to capital, strength of people and the expertise behind it to help Matso’s reach its full potential. It was also important for us that Matso’s stayed in Western Australian hands.
"Given that Matso’s and Gage Roads are both proud Western Australian businesses, it was a natural fit. Importantly, for everyone who loves Matso’s beers, including its famous ginger beer, the beers will not change under Gage Roads ownership."
Today's announcement sees Gage Roads continue on the most idiosyncratic of paths. The business started out as a small microbrewery in 2005 then, four years later, sold a 25 percent share to Woolworths, a move that led to significant expansion over the ensuing years. After producing Woolworths' home brand beers plus its own range as well as beers and ciders under license for many other Australian brewing companies including Matso's, on August 30, 2016, Gage Roads announced it was buying back all shares owned by Woolworths and planned to "return to its founding ethos and heritage of being an independent brewer of high quality craft beer."
Since then, it has enjoyed a remarkable run of success. Already, three months prior to that announcement, its Little Dove New World Pale (pictured at the top of the article), had won the prestigious Champion Australian Beer at the Australian International Beer Awards, and the brewery has continued to pick up gold medals and trophies since.
More eye-catching than that has been its success in the commercial realm. The brewery had inherited the title of WA's largest brewery by volume once Swan closed and has spent the time since notching up partnership after partnership, particularly in the world of sports. Its biggest victory was securing the contract to supply beer for the new Optus Stadium in Perth (pictured above), with mid-strength versions of its Single Fin Summer Ale, Atomic Pale Ale, Hello Sunshine Cider and the new Alby Crisp Lager available throughout the ground and a wider range of full-strength Gage Roads beers on offer in the premium areas.
Since then, there have been partnerships signed with Rugby Australia for its Sydney 7s tournament and with Cricket Victoria and the Western Force rugby club. At the end of April, the publicly listed company announced significant growth via the ASX. And now it has added another string to its bow for future growth.
The acquisition of Matso's is the first of 2018 but comes less than a year after a spate of four in just 69 days. That period saw 4 Pines and Pirate Life bought by AB InBev/CUB and Feral sold to Coca-Cola Amatil. The fourth sale was the one with most similarities to today's, with South Australia's Vale Brewing and its associated brands bought by another South Australian beverage company, Bickford's.
We'll be speaking to head brewer and COO Aaron Heary later today and will update this article then.
You can view the full ASX statement here.