Another crowdfunding record has been set in the world of beer. The remarkable effort by Sydney's Inner West Brewery Association (IWBA) will see all of the area's independent breweries, including Batch, Grifter, Philter, Sauce, Stockade, Wayward, Willie the Boatman and Young Henrys, become consolidated into one entity, effectively creating Australia’s largest independent brewing company.
The move has been made possible after their crowdfunding drive secured a staggering $200 million AUD in just 15 minutes.
It comes mere weeks after Black Hops made headlines after becoming the first operation in Australia to close an equity crowdfunding campaign early after hitting their maximum target in six days.
“I knew that a lot of people were fans of Inner West craft beer but the response just blew us away,” said Peter Philip, IWBA president, adding: “when Eddie McGuire got in touch about investing $50m I knew we were on to something big, but unfortunately he narrowly missed out with the offer closing minutes earlier.”
The association has since moved quickly to install Inner West Council Mayor Darcy Byrne at the head of the new brewing giant.
"Anyone who knows me knows I'm a massive fan of what these independent breweries have done to make the Inner West the craft beer capital of Australia and I'm stoked to be involved," the Mayor said, admitting: "the offer of free beer was definitely a factor in my decision."
The idea for the merger came about after a cut-throat poker game in which the owners of the IWBA member breweries each successively lost their companies to Richard “The Shark” Adamson of Young Henrys.
“Yeah, I did own all of them at one point, but then I got thirsty and offered to sell them back for a beer,” he said. “Probably not the smartest thing I’ve ever done, but I was really thirsty, and the beer was excellent.”
Following the poker game, the owners claim they shared something of a "Eureka!" moment, realising that merging their businesses would offer a host of benefits, such as being able to make their mortgage payments, occasionally take a holiday or indulge in a few other luxuries.
Pat McInerney, from Willie the Boatman, said: “I’m looking forward to being able to afford to upgrade some of my milk-crate furniture to something nice from Ikea.”
The new company is set to be called the Inner West Australian National Craft Co, with the merger also likely to boost innovation in the beer styles being produced.
Batch co-founder Andrew Fineran told The Crafty Pint: “You’re going to start seeing lots of great collaborations coming out of IWANCC, with beers like Elsie the Raspberry Berliner Weisse, Albo the Newtowner, Extra Big Sur Sauce and 8-Bit Red to hit taps in the next few weeks.”
UPDATE (02/04): On further investigation, it turns out the Inner West brewers were just being fools. Cheeky IWANCCers...