I WRITE in reply to representations made in the Briefcase column of WA Business News (March 22) that I feel are open to misinterpretation and may mislead readers in regard to Gage Roads Brewing Co. The article makes a number of implications that simply do not apply to Gage Roads. To begin, that there is “too much focus on fun and lifestyle [by the people behind these brewing floats] and not enough on the business case”. Gage Roads is the largest independent craft brewery in Australia and was brewing and marketing a range of premium beer for nearly two years prior to floating. The business employs 16 people full-time and operates a sophisticated manufacturing facility with the economies of scale and capacity to supply the national market. References to lifestyle over business continued with: “Brewing is not so much about indulging the brewer…as it is about making a product at the right price …” and, “ensuring that other people share the brewer’s taste.” The economies of scale built into Gage Roads allow us to position our range with price parity to other boutique and premium beers. We have achieved our recommended retail price nationally and sell our beers through independent retailers, banner groups and national chains in every state and territory in Australia. On the same day that the WA Business News article was published, Gage Roads IPA was named one of Perth’s best beers. All three of Gage Roads’ beers – the Lager, PILS and IPA – have received awards and accolades during the past 18 months. In our first year of competition, Gage Roads was nominated for best new exhibitor at the Australian International Beer Awards. And finally, to the astute point of, "finding well-developed distribution channels through which to sell the product at a profit". Gage Roads has an exclusive national distribution agreement with the Hardy Wine Company, which trades in WA under the Houghton banner. Hardy Wine Company is the largest distributor of wine in the country. Our range of premium beer complements its offering of premium wines making for a successful and profitable long-term relationship. I felt compelled to offer these points of contrast in the interests of the readers who may have been led to confuse the merits of Gage Roads with the opinions of the columnist. He was right about one thing though – at 32 cents, Gage Roads is undervalued. Peter Nolin - managing director
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