SABMiller said circumstances have changed "significantly" for the brewery

SABMiller said circumstances have changed "significantly" for the brewery

SABMiller-owned Carlton & United Breweries is to discontinue its Bluetongue beer brand as it plans to shutter its Australian production site.

The Bluetongue range, which includes a "premium" lager and alcholic ginger beer, will be phased out “over the coming months” after sales declined, SABMiller in a statement said today (23 January). “We are not in a position to continue to invest in the Bluetongue brand,” the statement said. 

The move also means the end of the Bluetongue Brewery, which was completed in 2010 at a cost of AUD120m (US$105m). The plant, in Central Coast's Warnervale, was built as part of the Pacific Beverages JV between SABMiller and Coca-Cola Amatil. Bluetongue, first established as a brand in 2003, was acquired by Pacific Beverages in 2007. 

Pacific Beverages became part of Foster's subsidiary CUB along with the Bluetongue brand when SABMiller acquired Foster's Group in 2011.

Today, SABMiller said: “The Warnervale brewery played a vital role in our Pacific Beverages JV prior to the Foster's acquisition. 

“Things have, however, changed significantly since the site was built. Warnervale is now part of the much larger and established national Carlton & United production grid and this has resulted in excess capacity.”

Sky News Australia reported today that the Bluetongue Brewery's 64 employees have been told the site will be closed by the end of this year. CUB director of corporate affairs, Jeremy Griffith, was quoted as saying there there will be job losses, but the company will consider redeploying workers to other sites.

A SABMiller spokesperson confirmed to just-drinks that 64 jobs are "at risk".