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The ad on Grays Online leaves no room for doubt: “Complete Brewery Closure”. And certainly the messages of surprise and commiseration passing around the Victorian craft beer world this week at the apparent demise of 3 Ravens – one of Melbourne’s longest established microbreweries – have seen those words treated as gospel. Yet, as with Dil in The Crying Game, things aren’t quite as they seem…
Here at The Crafty Pint we’ve been aware of “discussions” going on between the owners at the Thornbury brewery for quite some time. Yet, knowing that fairly recently they’d been weighing up a move to a location in Collingwood where they could add a retail side to their business, it hadn’t seemed they were ready to throw in the towel. And while there is still a distinct possibility that the brewery could be sold to the right bidder, there’s also the chance that it will live on. Confused?
Well, in short, there have been disagreements among the directors as to what to do with the brewery. The building that houses it has been up for sale, its current location doesn’t allow for a bar and is tucked far away from anywhere you’d get passing trade, while some of its directors have left or want out. Yet there remain those in place who – if they can find the right person to come in and help manage the business, find a new location and help them market the beers – are keen to keep a brand that’s carved a niche over nearly ten years alive. Certainly, there is no “Complete Brewery Closure” on the cards for the end of this month, the building has not been sold and new beers will be forthcoming.
“We had been looking for a place to move the brewery so that we could add a retail side to the business and thought we had found a place in Collingwood but it was going to be too expensive,” says director Peter Fitzgerald. “We wanted somewhere people could come for a drink, have finger food and where we would get passing trade.
“Discussions amongst the shareholders on the value of both the equipment and the business resulted in both being put up for sale – from my point of view, this was to allow another of the shareholders to decide if he wished to continue in the business. This would ensure a fair price was paid for any buy out, whilst leaving our options open to sell the whole lot, if an attractive offer was received. Thus, the staff were advised of the potential for their jobs to cease by the middle of the year.
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