Cheeky Monkey Brewing Co. has secured a $350,000 grant from the WA government after a “rigorous process” to obtain the funding.
The Value Add Investment Grant from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) is a co-contribution investment to enable Cheeky Monkey to increase capacity at its brewery.
Cheeky Monkey has already demonstrated its ambitious growth strategy, having expanded to a new production facility at Vasse in recent years and making the leap from an 11hL to a 25hL Premier Stainless kit.
Now, the grant will accelerate its expansion further.
“We’ve been growing over the last few years which is great, and a testament to the industry growing in itself – obviously we wouldn’t be able to grow without the industry growing with it,” explained Brent Burton, managing director of Cheeky Monkey.
“[The funding] is certainly a shot in the arm and will allow us to accelerate our growth a bit quicker.”
It will allow the brewery to invest in new fermenters, brite tanks and packaging, he said.
“We’ve obviously moved into Vasse and that has tremendous potential and we want to grow into that quickly, that’s where the grant comes in.
“[In addition to the] new 100hL tanks, we’ll be upgrading packaging equipment like palletisers, fillers, labellers and carton packers.
“We’ll be hiring more staff, about 19 new employees over the course of the next few years across the board with the distribution arm and manufacturing, marketing, sales, admin and packaging teams.
“It’s a massive shed [at Vasse], but we’re quickly growing into the space there, so we’ll also be considering purchasing the block next door for storage.”
With the expansion, Cheeky Money will have an annual capacity of around 2 million litres, Burton estimated, including its research and development brewery at its original site, plans for which were announced last year.
“Part of the project is the R&D brewery at Caves Road and a lot of focus there will be doing small batch limited release products.”
Burton explained that part of their expansion plans were looking at opportunities for growth in other markets.
“We only service the WA market, so we believe there is potential for growth in Eastern states and getting Cheeky Monkey Beers out for export.”
Funding for Cheeky Monkey
When considering applications for government grant funding, Burton explained that there were points of access to seemingly confusing grant systems, which differ depending on state.
“I always would advise seeking the advice of a local development commission, ours was the South West Development Commission and they point you in the right direction, or a private advisor like ours.
“It’s a co-contribution grant, so throughout the process you have to provide financial statements and things like that for the last three years. They looked at the performance of the business and it was an upward trend, and they had that information to make the decision.”
Securing the VAI grant is a major success for Cheeky Monkey, as grant applications are assessed on a competitive basis, “through a rigorous process including assessment by an independent panel,” the DPIRD advised in a statement to Brews News. It was amongst 18 successful applicants of the grant.
WA has a strong track record of supporting breweries, especially in comparison to other states.
In the past year alone, one of WA’s newest breweries Shelter Brewing Co. in Busselton received a $250,000 RED grant, whilst Beaten Track Brewery, Cowaramup Brewing Co. and Rocky Ridge Brewing Co. also secured a total of $400,000 between them for expansion projects.
This dwarfs the investment of other states in their brewing industries, although some have made moves to support breweries, including the NSW Government’s $200,000 support of the IBA to increase brewery membership of the organisation in the state.