News Day

Swansong response


October 17, 2012 NEWS DAY

WA publicans should unite to start up their own brewery in the wake of today’s “devastating” closure of the Swan Brewery at Canning Vale, state Australian Hotels Association president Neil Randall has told InkWire.

Mr Randall, who has operated the landmark Paddington Ale House for the past 25 years, said brewing giant Lion’s decision to make its Swan and Emu brands in South Australia from next year was “the talk of the pub” today.

“There are a lot of parochial West Australians who will be very upset about this announcement – people who are passionate about where their beer is brewed,” Mr Randall said.

“I certainly hope that South Australia don’t use their water in our beer – I doubt it will taste as good.

“It might be time for publicans here to get together and start up our own brewery.”

Lion’s external relations director Leela Sutton told reporters at the Canning Vale site today the company remained committed to brewing Swan and Emu to the same level of quality from the West End site in SA.

“We still believe there is a very important place in the market for these brands,” Ms Sutton said.

“We understand that this change will be felt differently by different consumers [but] we do find that mostly what consumers care about is the quality and taste of those beers and obviously that’s something we remain committed to.”

The closure resulted in 80 redundancies, at least one of whom was an employee with more than 40 years’ service.

“Our people are understandably disappointed and obviously our priority in terms of consultation,” Ms Sutton said.

She said the brewery site would be sold.

“We will be providing support over the next six months as production is phased out to look at redeployment opportunities for those who are interested in transferring to other breweries or outplacement support as well for those who want to look at alternative employment locally.”

Swan Brewery, which was originally located on the banks of the Swan River before relocating to Canning Vale, has been operating for 175 years in Perth.

Mr Randall said he could recall when Swan Draught and later Swan Gold were the only beers available on tap in many WA hotels.

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