The old ads used to say “Foster’s is Australian for beer”, but that’s no longer the case.
British-based group SABMiller has bought the Australian giant for around 10 billion dollars.
Ella Archibald-Binge reports.
The brewing company that makes some of Australia’s most iconic beers will fall into foreign hands, as ownership of Foster’s is sold overseas.
After four months of negotiations with SABMiller, Foster’s Group received an offer they couldn’t turn down.
John Pollaers, Foster’s Group CEO: “Ultimately, this is a great deal for the company, and frankly a great deal for the staff and our customers.”
Beer experts say while the taste of the products won’t change, Australians should expect to see more international brands available in bars.
Matthew Kirkegaard, Beer Blogger: “I think you’ll really notice a lot of change in the emphasis that’s given to certain brands and also how available some of the brands are.”
Many people are concerned that the change of ownership will mean job losses around Australia.
Hobart’s Cascade brewery may be closed down, with SABMiller likely to distribute their products from one of the existing factories.
Matthew Kirkegaard, Beer Blogger: “SABMiller has recently built a very big brewery in Australia, they’ve been brewing their international brands out of, and that may see the closure of some of the smaller Fosters-owned breweries, and Cascade might be one to go.”
Foster’s Group has rejected those claims.
John Pollaers, Fosters Group CEO: “You can’t really move a brewery, you know, making VB anywhere else, so I think we’ll continue to see heavy investment in our business in Australia.”
Fosters say SABMiller CEO Graham Mackay will look after Australians.
John Pollaers, Foster’s Group CEO: “He believes, as I do, in the future of this business and in the people, and in the importance of this business to Australia, so I believe we have their commitment to do, to do what’s right.”
But the Foster’s Group isn’t the first to be sold overseas.
Lion Nathan, distributor of popular Queensland brand XXXX, is owned by Tokyo-based Kirin Holdings.
They still employ around 8000 people across Australia and New Zealand, with factories in every Australian state.
Matthew Kirkegaard, Beer Blogger: “There’s an explosion of small and regional breweries that are making really good beer, and hopefully this will give them, people will start looking at them a bit more.”
Experts say the Foster’s sale may be good news for small local brewers, who stand to attract more attention from Aussie buyers.
Ella Archibald-Binge, QUT News.