Lion have today announced they are to cease brewing Two Birds beers and will close the brewery's taproom, The Nest, in Spotswood, citing a decline in sales over several years as the reason. The move comes less than two years on from the multinational's acquisition of Fermentum, the family of drinks businesses founded by Stone & Wood that had, in turn, bought Two Birds in January 2021.
In a media statement, Two Birds co-founder Danielle Allen expressed gratitude for the unwavering support of their fans, partners, suppliers, many collaborators and dedicated team, both past and present.
“The legacy of Two Birds will continue to live on, not only in the hearts of those who have enjoyed our unique brews but also in the progress we have made towards gender equality in the brewing world," she said.
"We are honoured to have played a role in shifting perceptions, fostering inclusivity, and empowering countless women to follow their dreams within this industry and others."
Co-founder Jayne Lewis, who left the brewery two months ago, released her own statement in response to the news, expressing her profound sense of sadness for "the dedicated team who poured their hearts and souls into making this brand what it is today."
Jayne added: "More than just a product, Two Birds represented the values of diversity, inclusion, and the unwavering belief in oneself. It thrived as a beacon of hope for those who sought to break barriers and embrace their unique identities.
"I am immensely proud of the legacy we have built, and it brings me solace to know that Fermentum will continue to carry that torch forward, by continuing the Warrior Woman brand and investing in scholarships to further the careers of women in their business."
We've included Jayne's statement in its entirety below.
Two Birds was founded by Jayne Lewis and Danielle Allen in 2011, making it Australia's first brewery owned and run by women, and went on to achieve notable success in a number of areas.
The founders and their team were regular trophy-winners at the country's major beer awards, while Two Birds forged many high profile partnerships outside the beer world. Jayne played a key role in the creation of the body that would become the Independent Brewers Association as well as the development of the Australian chapter of the Pink Boots Society and, more recently, was a founder of Drinks Agents For Change, which is pushing for greater diversity and inclusivity in the wider beer community.
As they approached their tenth anniversary, Jayne and Dani sold the brewery to the Fermentum Group, joining a roster that included Stone & Wood, Fixation, Treehouse Cider, Sunly Seltzer and Forest For The Trees, the last of which has ceased operation too.
In the media statement, Fermentum's head of marketing, Ed Jamison said Two Birds' sales had "been on a downtrend for several years" adding: “Despite continued marketing investment, it is not showing signs of a turnaround, and we’ve made the difficult decision to cease brewing Two Birds and close ‘The Nest’ taproom in Spotswood, Victoria."
Today's news comes on the back of other recent announcements from Kirin-owned Lion concerning some of their other craft brands. Their WA-based beer brand Bevy ceased operations in May, with its home near Perth Stadium becoming a Little Creatures brewpub; that announcement followed only a month on from the closure of their Townsville brewpub Tiny Mountain.
Earlier this month, the business revealed new expansion plans for Stone & Wood's Murwillumbah production facility that will see their existing site expanded the introduction of a hospitality offering. Within that announcement was news that plans to build a new brewery in the same part of the Northern Rivers town – which was a commitment to Fermentum's founders at the time of the sale – had been put on hold. The Australian Financial Review has also reported the wider Lion Group has been slashing jobs following a review by new group head Sam Fischer.
These moves by Lion come amid a particularly challenging year for the beer industry. We've already reported on a number of businesses entering voluntary administration since January, while there have been closures and for sale signs going up in the beer and hospitality worlds too; just last week Port Macquarie-based Wicked Elf, which evolved from the long-established The Little Brewing Co, became the latest, telling The Crafty Pint they were closing their doors permanently on June 24.
A Lion spokesperson told The Crafty Pint that Danielle was among the Two Birds employees they were looking to employ elsewhere within the business, with the closure impacting six permanent and seven casual team members.
Yet the impact will be felt well beyond those current employees or anyone who worked there in the past. Here at The Crafty Pint, we're sure many in the wider beer community will be immensely grateful for what Dani and Jayne have already contributed to the local beer world. And that they'll empathise with the thoughts of a brewer – who spoke to us anonymously after hearing the news – keen to highlight the influence the Two Birds story, and the founders' pioneering role within the industry, has had on her career.
"The presence of Two Birds as a female-founded brewery in a male-dominated industry has been instrumental during my career in beer," she said. "It's without a doubt that I wouldn't be a brewer today without them – and I know I'm not the only one with such a story.
"Seeing two women at the forefront of craft beer in Australia showed me that it was possible to not just exist as a token in this industry, but to thrive in it and to shape it.
"It's disappointing that Lion could not see a way forward with harnessing the brand and spreading the positive message of what Two Birds represents. It's even more upsetting that it's axing a female-centred brand at a time that the industry is calling for equality with more passion than ever."
The final day of trade at The Nest will be Friday, July 21, and Two Birds beers will be available until stock runs out.
The full media statements follow.
Statement From Jayne Lewis
It is with a heavy heart that I respond to the recent press release from Fermentum announcing the closure of Two Birds Brewing. As a co-founder of this beloved venture, which I nurtured for 10 years before selling it 2.5 years ago and departing just 2 months ago, I can't help but feel a profound sense of sadness for the dedicated team who poured their hearts and souls into making this brand what it is today.
More than just a product, Two Birds represented the values of diversity, inclusion, and the unwavering belief in oneself. It thrived as a beacon of hope for those who sought to break barriers and embrace their unique identities. I am immensely proud of the legacy we have built, and it brings me solace to know that Fermentum will continue to carry that torch forward, by continuing the Warrior Woman brand and investing in scholarships to further the careers of women in their business.
The challenges faced by the industry, including supply chain pressures and escalating prices, have been immense. In these trying times, I recognise that individuals are also grappling with their own difficulties. It is in this spirit of empathy and solidarity that I issue a sincere call to arms to support the businesses you love, if you find yourself in a position to do so.
When we rally behind the businesses that have touched our lives, we not only uplift them, but also contribute to the vitality of our communities. Small acts of support, whether it be choosing to purchase from local establishments, sharing positive experiences on social media, or offering words of encouragement, can make a world of difference.
I would like to express my deepest gratitude to everyone who has been a part of this incredible journey. Thank you to everyone who ever supported us, bought our beer, visited The Nest or turned up to an event.
To fellow founder Danielle and the staff who believed in our purpose and gave their blood, sweat and tears to push this brand forward - together, we have accomplished remarkable things, and I have no doubt that the same spirit of determination and passion will fuel amazing things in the future.
“While this isn’t the outcome that I had hoped for, I believe that what we built was a success that I am immensely proud of and I will never die wondering.”
Thank you for your support and for standing alongside us throughout the years.
Media Statement: Two Birds brand to be discontinued following sales volume decline
Lion has today announced plans to cease brewing Two Birds beer and will close ‘The Nest’ taproom and brewery in Spotswood, VIC. Two Birds Brewing became part of Lion through the purchase of Fermentum in 2021.
Head of Marketing for Fermentum, Ed Jamison said, “While Two Birds Brewing has won a number of local and international brewing awards, sales have been on a downtrend for several years.
“Despite continued marketing investment, it is not showing signs of a turnaround, and we’ve made the difficult decision to cease brewing Two Birds and close ‘The Nest’ taproom in Spotswood, Victoria.”
The closure will impact six permanent and seven casual team members, with redeployment opportunities currently being explored in other parts of Lion. If no alternative roles are available, redundancy, outplacement support and counselling will be provided to impacted team members.
Fermentum’s Supply Chain Leader Rich Crowe said, “I’d like to recognise the Two Birds Brewing founders, Jayne Lewis and Danielle Allen, who have blazed a trail for diversity and inclusion in brewing in opening Australia’s first female founded brewery. Closing Two Birds is a difficult decision that has not been taken lightly and we want to continue to acknowledge and celebrate their unique contribution both to the Fermentum team and the wider industry.
“We have been working through this with Jayne and Danielle and, with their support, plan to continue their annual tradition of brewing an International Women’s Day ‘Warrior Woman’ brew alongside our women brewers. We will also be working with them on an ongoing mentoring and scholarship program that complements Lion’s existing range of DEI programs.”
Two Birds Brewing Co-Founder Danielle Allen said: “The legacy of Two Birds will continue to live on, not only in the hearts of those who have enjoyed our unique brews but also in the progress we have made towards gender equality in the brewing world. We are honoured to have played a role in shifting perceptions, fostering inclusivity, and empowering countless women to follow their dreams within this industry and others.
“We wish to express our gratitude to our supporters, partners, suppliers, many collaborators and our dedicated team, both past and present, for their unwavering support throughout the years. We look forward to supporting Lion's programs aimed at encouraging more women to join the brewing industry.”
The final day of trade at ‘The Nest’ will be Friday, 21 July 2023 and Two Birds Brewing beers will be available for sale until stock runs out.
You can read Dani and Jayne's entry in our Ten Lessons From Ten Years series here, and Jayne's appearance in our end-of-the-2010s Advent Calendar series here.