Newcastle’s only combined operational brewery and hospitality venue FogHorn Brewhouse is up for sale.
Both the brewery business and premises have been put on the market, with expressions of interest closing Thursday, December 6 at 4pm.
The CBD freehold incorporates a real estate parcel and brewing business that spans 1,277 square metres, with frontages on both Darby and King Streets.
After almost four years as the majority stakeholder of the FogHorn brewing business and parcel holder, James Garvey is moving onto something new, leaving minority stakeholder and head brewer Shawn Sherlock to negotiate with potential buyers and hopefully direct the business into its next phase.
“There are many reasons why people look to sell a business, in this case it’s not down to problems with the business itself,” Sherlock explained.
“We’re a profitable business and we’re growing well in the Newcastle area, which itself is undergoing a substantial revitalisation process.”
Sherlock told Brews News that he has no concern in his mind about the brewery business and that he is happy to commit his and his family’s future to its growth.
The venue has been zoned for development up to five stories. So, as December 6 looms nearer, it will be up to Sherlock to negotiate with potential buyers to preserve the brewery business as part of the freehold.
While Sherlock said that he would prefer for the brewpub to remain the same, there are several avenues towards part ownership of both the building and the business that remain open to him.
He said that while breweries and hospitality are by nature risky businesses, he’s been in the industry for a long time and he understands its strengths and weaknesses. Sherlock said that he is also confident in the strength of his city.
“Our city deserves to have a really high quality, independent craft brewery.”
Garvey and Sherlock started FogHorn Brewhouse in 2014, in an old warehouse that once housed the area’s first Ford factory, dating back to the 1930s.
Since the duo took it over, the warehouse has undergone significant rejuvenation and now houses an 18hl brewhouse that services a 260-pax restaurant.
Having begun trading in April 2015, this was Sherlock’s first foray into owning his own business.
The former Murray’s Head Brewer told Brews News that he believes in the brewpub model as a really important part of what the brewing industry does here in Australia.
“As the market matures, the ability to brew quality fresh beer, being in control of your actual tap space and not being as reliant on the Woolworths and Coles of the world, is a good thing,” Sherlock explained.
“Our model is a really classic brewpub model, we sell our own beers through our own taps.
“We’re not reliant on that wholesale part of the business, so from that point of view, that level of control and level of cash flow from a business point of view is a really good thing about being in a brewpub.
“Is it a sign of the maturity in the industry that we’ve got different [brewery] models coming in.”
The brewery does sell some wholesale beer in draught to mainly local Newcastle venues and will occasionally sell into Sydney and Melbourne venues that Sherlock said he feels will treat his beer well.