Limestone Coast Brewing pivoted to a new business sector as the pandemic hit WA.
Malaga-based Limestone Coast Brewing has been named Small Business of the Year at this year’s Business News RISE Business Awards.
Led by managing director Geoff Munday and established in 2015, the craft brewer also installs brewery equipment in its customers’ venues and sells beer directly to their taps.
Having shut-up shop during the peak of COVID-19 in Western Australia – and facing a complete loss of revenue – the business managed to stay afloat by pivoting its operations towards the hand sanitiser market.
Limestone Coast formed a 51 per cent partnership with indigenous business Spinifex Brewing Co in March to begin making hand sanitiser; a popular move among a number of distilleries, including Illegal Tender Rum Co and Whipper Snapper Distillery.
Earlier in the year, Prime Minister Scott Morrison had called on companies to assist with the production of vital medical supplies due to increasing shortages and disruptions to existing supply chains.
After winning big contracts with WA Police Force, Crown Resorts and Adventure World, the Limestone Coast-Spinifex joint venture, Spinifex Protect, repurposed a brewing facility in Malaga to become the only dedicated hand sanitiser production plant in WA.
The JV delivers 50,000 litres of Spinifex Protect product each week, which contains 80 per cent ethanol.
The JV has also partnered with a major personal protective equipment (PPE) supplier, bolstering the Spinifex Protect brand.
Spinifex is now the sole PPE supplier to Crown Casino.
Limestone Coast said its new business unit helped the company maintain cash flow and productivity in a time of crisis.
Spinifex Protect was also recommended for the Perth Beer Festival and the first COVID-safe music event of the year, Good Day Sunshine.
Both events were held in October after being delayed earlier in the year due to virus restrictions.
And while providing sanitisers and PPE, Limestone Coast has also endeavoured to employ a number of workers from the hospitality and oil and gas sectors, laid off during lockdown.
The business is currently seeking Therapeutic Goods Administration approval and Good Manufacturing Process standards needed to supply Spinifex Protect to the medical industry.
“Our future lies with securing TGA approval,” Limestone Coast said.
“Sanitiser demand has dropped by 60 per cent in the last two months, and the healthcare sector is the biggest user of sanitiser in the country.
“We are price competitive with a locally made and superior product that does not cause harm with competitive use.
“The hospitals will want our product.”
Limestone Coast said many doctors, nurses and surgeons were already directly purchasing Spinifex Protect.
“The strategic choice to manufacture locally, buy Australia-made where possible, create an indigenous JV, and then finally partner with a large PPE supplier has given the company long-term strategic competitive advantages,” Limestone Coast said.
“These choices have secured government, mining sector and health sector support that will endure in the long-term.”
The Limestone Coast team also includes technical director Sven Grone, non-executive directors Brad Hill and Jason Macdonald, brewers George Grone and Jordan Munday, and operations manager Greg Harding.