One of the largest suppliers of brewing equipment, Canada-based DME, has gone into receivership, leaving customers around the world unsure how they will be affected. The company, which operated factories in multiple countries, has supplied some of the biggest names in the Australian beer world, including Stone & Wood, Balter, Hawkers and Mountain Goat, as well as many smaller operations.
The receiver, Alvarez & Marsal, is reported to be looking for a buyer for the business in the hope of reopening the company. According to reporting by CBC News in Canada, some DME employees will be called back to work to complete some projects and get those to customers.
Tim Wills, the Australian sales rep from California-based equipment supplier Premier Stainless Systems, said he felt for the staff at the business as well as brewery owners who could be affected by the shock news.
"You don't want to see that happen to anybody in the industry," he told The Crafty Pint. "DME has been my most equal competitor and it's always been very amicable. [DME brewing consultant and regional sales rep] Brian Watson and I have always got along; I would refer jobs to him if I couldn't do them and he would refer people to me for keg washers."
He believes it will have a bigger impact in Australia than in North America due to the large amount of equipment DME has sold and installed here.
"DME was here on their own for years," he says, warning some people could lose "a stack of money" due to large deposits and the lead times between orders being placed and equipment being delivered running to many months.
Chris Moore, co-owner of Sailors Grave in East Gippsland, whose brewery is pictured above, told The Crafty Pint: "Our brewhouse is all DME, it’s good gear too so it must be tough.
“Hopefully, there are no breweries that have paid their deposit but I’m sure there are some.”
He added: “Setting up a brewery is the time you are counting every single dollar – you’ve got no wriggle room unless you’ve got a big backer.”
Tim said he'd already been contacted by several people today who had been planning to sign a contract with DME and were now looking at other options. And he advised anyone with DME equipment at their breweries to look into where they could potentially source parts or support in the future if no new buyer was found.
He added: "Canada is a pretty sensible place, so you can only hope somebody will try to help people who have paid large deposits down get their kit."
We have approached Brian Watson and will update this story as and when more information is received.