Stone & Wood mulls expansion to quench thirst for demand

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Byron Bay beer maker Stone & Wood has been reported to be looking to further expand its largest brewery as sales jump by 60 per cent to more than $30 million as a response to rivals’ “corporate comb overs” – attempts by large global breweries to spur growth in the premium and craft beer segments by launching their own boutique brands or buying up smaller brewers to try to compensate in a small way for the declining growth in their core mainstream beer sales.

According to the Australian Financing Review, Stone & Wood has already invested $12 million on a second brewery at Murwillumbah which opened in 2014, but founder Jamie Cook described its production as reaching its “limit”.

This would point to Stone & Wood giving the green light on a further expansion as preparation to meet summer peak season demands and at the same time eye a bigger share of Australia’s $14 billion beer market.

“We’re looking at expansion in the next 12 months,” Cook told AFR. Cook is adamant on maintaining Stone & Wood as a mainstream brewer and doesn’t classify itself as a “craft brewer”, of which there are 350 operators in Australia who have started out small, and niche. “We’ve always had the strategy that we’re building a regional beer business,” he said.