The Gage Roads family looks set to expand further as the WA based operation weighs up moving some of its beers into cans while revealing a new name and structure for its operations. Following the acquisition of Matso's and the launch of its Alby lagers and Hello Sunshine cider, the brewing company has rebranded its sales and marketing team as Good Drinks Australia and says further additions to its lineup could be on the cards.
While drinkers will likely notice little change – Gage Roads beers will remain Gage Roads beers, Matso's will remain Matso's – the bars and bottleshops selling them will be dealing with Good Drinks Australia instead.
It also sees the fast-evolving Palmyra business continue to develop along a similar path to Tribe Breweries, which includes the Stockade Brew Co, WILDE Gluten Free Beer and Mornington Peninsula Brewery brands and is seeking further acquisitions, and Fermentum, the family of beverage companies created by Stone & Wood that features the likes of Fixation Brewing, Granite Belt Cider, Bucha of Byron and Square Keg under its umbrella.
Gage Roads’ head of marketing Miles Hull says the decision to rebrand their sales force was driven by the number different brands that have been launched – or acquired – by the brewery.
“This has come about particularly due to the acquisition of Matso’s, a new brand that we didn’t develop in house,” Miles says. “But it also represents a little bit of the evolution that we are going through at Gage Roads.”
Of the Alby lagers launched in WA last year, he says: “Gage Roads is on the label in a minor role, but Alby really is its own brand in its own right. We’re seeing great success with that and it's really doing its own thing on its own two feet away from Gage Road.”
Officially launched in WA last night, Good Drinks indicates Gage Roads is looking to grow in a similar manner to Tribe and Fermentum, although at this stage it hasn't indicated an intention to move into hospitality like the NSW based operations. Fixation’s Collingwood home, the recent announcement of a forthcoming Stone & Wood brewpub in Brisbane and the opening of Stockade’s Marrickville Barrel Room have seen both add new hospitality ventures to their wider businesses in the past year.
For Gage Roads, Miles says bringing their various brands under one roof is driven by a desire to build a larger national presence outside its home state.
“We are really looking to penetrate the East Coast more and I think with drinks it gives us the ability to do that with a range of brands,” he says. “We’re really building up our team and our capability to really become a dominant player in the greater beer scene across Australia.”
So, will Good Drinks Australia welcome more breweries into its fold soon enough? Miles is open to saying it’s a possibility, as too is the likelihood we’ll see some Gage Roads beers move into cans next year.
“Beer is where our expertise lies,” Miles says. “But, given we are building up a national network of sales representatives that have got a fairly good reach, we wouldn’t not look at other opportunities with other beverages.”