Vale Brewing is back on the right track after a period of disruption that followed ownership and personnel changes last year, according to new CEO Stuart Mosman.
Mosman joined Vale three months ago with a background in the wine industry, most recently as general manager of Chalk Hill Wines in McLaren Vale.
A native of the region, Mosman is a longtime home brewer and passionate beer enthusiast, so jumped at the chance to head up the brewery, which was acquired outright by the Collins family in April last last year.
“Being honest, we had a little bit of a blip after the ownership changes were negotiated through,” Mosman told Australian Brews News.
“The craft beer industry’s moving so quickly now, if you stop to take a breath and look around, someone’s run straight past you. So you’ve got to be on your game the whole time.”
Mosman said Vale has had two new sales reps on the ground in Sydney since last September.
“We’re only just starting to see their results come through now. We largely had to start from scratch, we were out of the market there for probably about six months and that really hurt us,” he said.
“Sydney used to be our biggest market, now it’s our smallest market that we look after direct.
“I think Sydney will bounce back. There’s a lot of goodwill for the Vale brand there… We’ve got some really good pouring opportunities we’ve just taken advantage of recently, and we should see a lot more momentum in that market in the next two years,” said Mosman.
He said Vale now has a team of six sales representatives covering the NSW, Victoria and South Australia markets.
“Their focus is largely bars. And we’ve also put on some sub-distributors in each market, where they’re working through picking up small retail accounts and getting distribution points for us as well,” he said.
The CEO said the new range of beers released under the subsidiary Fox Hat brand had been incredibly well received.
“Fox Hat was born out of the brewery, it was born out of the guys wanting to do more creative beers and beers that showcased what they could do. Essentially it’s the brewers being unleashed – off the hook if you like,” he said.
“The first month we sold out of the Oatmeal Stout and the Metric IPA on two occasions, in keg and can.”
The third beer in the Fox Hat range is the Lusty Lager, which brewer Jeff Wright said offers the perfect blend of American and New Zealand hops.
“Let’s face it, everyone loves a good lager,” he said. “To the eye, a dense pure white head greets you, and a golden orange colour with brilliant clarity makes Lusty a very attractive beer.
“Lusty is a strong, hoppy lager with notes of apricot, melon and tropical fruits followed by hints of spice and cedar. Her lusty bitterness and clean, crisp finish belies her six per cent alcohol content.”
Vale is now poised to launch Vale Ale in cans, ahead of ultimately bringing production of the bottled Vale beers in-house.