AUS: Craft brewer Empire Beer in muted float

By | 9 January 2007

Australian craft brewer Empire Beer Group has made a muted debut as it became the latest microbrewer to list on the country's stock market.

Empire Beer, based in Perth, yesterday (8 January) saw shares fall to A$0.30 (US$0.23), five cents below their issue price of A$0.35.

Chief executive Phil Gallagher told the Australian Associated Press that he was "disappointed" with the company's first day of trading but he remained upbeat. "It's always disappointing that a float would go backwards on day one, but we're still very confident in the business model," he said.

Empire, which owns Colonial Brewing Co., joins craft brewers Gage Roads Brewing Co. and Oz Brewing on the Australian Stock Exchange. Healthy demand for craft beer in Australia has encouraged brewers to list to fund expansion.

Gallagher said there is room for Empire in what remains a small market. According to the Australian Associated Press, craft beer accounts for under 1% of beer sales in Australia.

"There's a definite shift in the marketplace away from mass market mainstream brands that are marketed on a jingle and the colour of a can, where there's nothing spoken about the liquid and the quality of the beer," he said.

"The shift towards premium wine happened 10 or so years ago; that same phenomenon is now happening with beer."

Sectors: Beer & cider

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AUS: Craft brewer Empire Beer in muted float

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