Founders First told the ASX today that it had signed a cold store national distribution agreement with alcohol supply chain company Bevchain, which could lead to industry-wide logistics solutions.
Linfox-owned Bevchain is launching the specialist network which will provide a single cold store warehousing and distribution chain for all Founders First products in November.
The problem of maintaining cold storage throughout distribution networks has been of particular concern to craft beer as the industry seeks to maintain quality through consistent refrigeration, and this year Founders First has doubled distribution of its brands which include Ballistic, Slipstream, Sauce, Jetty Road and Foghorn Brewery.
Founders First said the deal with Bevchain will simplify operations for it and its retail partners, and result in “lower cost and significantly improved customer service with Founders First now managing stock levels, inventory planning invoicing and accounts receivable”.
The partnership with Bevchain could provide both an industry solution for the craft sector and open up new revenue streams for the company, Founders First said, with Bevchain providing the physical infrastructure and Founders First providing the digital platform and access to craft producers, via its Mighty Craft brand.
Founders First managing director Mark Haysman said that the agreement was a “significant step” for the company.
“There is currently no national cold chain craft logistics solution in the country,” he said in a statement to the ASX.
“To have the leading industry player in Bevchain building the infrastructure and providing Founders First with the preferred supply services is a big endorsement of our model and future potential.
“We have significant plans to expand this further in time to potentially provide an efficient and effective industry solution for Independent Craft through leveraging the Mighty Craft platform and Bevchain’s infrastructure”
Misha Shiliapnikoff, president at Bevchain, said the company was excited to partner with Founders First, “to address what is currently a fragmented craft beer market”.
“We see this opportunity as a long-term partnership in which Bevchain can support Founders First and Mighty Craft with logistics infrastructure and expertise, underpinned by our strong commitment to safe and efficient supply chain operations.”