The owners of the Malt Shed, a Victorian brewery and venue, are putting the business up for sale.
Andrew Bett, Grant Jones and Mathew Saunders, the directors of the Malt Shed in Wangaratta, are inviting expressions of interest for the business and brand.
The team said the demands of running a brewery along with their full-time jobs (as a vet surgery owner, a geoscientist and a commercial kitchen equipment supplier respectively) and young families proved to be too much.
“We just don’t have the time to run it as well as we’d like and as well as we think it should run,” explained Saunders.
“We’re doing 80 hours a week each, people probably don’t realise it but I’m there regularly, and Grant and Bettsy do a lot behind the scenes. We all have young families as well.
“We’ve still got the passion for it, we love brewing beer and we love providing a great place for the local community, but we’re just so time poor.
“We think it’s an opportunity to give it to someone else who has the time.”
Established in 2014, the brewpub was opened in July 2017. It’s a member of the High Country Brewery Trail, and at the last AIBAs received four medals for its beers, and another three at the 2019 Indies Awards, including a gold.
However, as much as it was a successful passion project for the trio, it wasn’t something they could dedicate their time to in the long term.
“It’s probably not grown quite big enough or fast enough for us to quit our jobs and have the same income,” Saunders explained.
“Certainly down the track if we got to a really large size we would all be working in it full time.
“We would have liked to work on it full time, but we just can’t develop it to that stage where we can do it fast enough. We’re all absolutely exhausted.
“It has been a gradual thing, it certainly hasn’t been a snap decision. We’ve just run out of time, that’s the reality of it.”
Malt Shed made waves in the industry earlier this year after a trademark settlement agreement with Lion, over similarities with its Malt Shovel brand.
But this wasn’t a factor in the directors’ decision, said Saunders.
“We actually thought it was great, we had a bit of a win there really. They are a massive, massive company, and to be able to keep our brand and our trademarks and stuff was a fantastic win for the little guy.
“It cost us money and all that sort of thing, but at the end of the day we were proud that we got to keep our identity and our brand.”
The sale includes the brand, trademarks, IP for all Malt Shed products, including Malt Shed Beer, as well as the venue, brewing and other equipment, in addition to the lease, which has an opportunity to purchase the Wangaratta freehold premises.
“Hopefully someone grabs hold of it and takes it to the next level,” Saunders said.
“There’s always sadness when you’re passionate about something and you can’t do it anymore, but we’re also really proud of what we’ve achieved and we’re looking forward to seeing what happens with it next.”
Expressions of interest can be sent to [email protected].