The founders of The Australian Brewery went from a small craft beer startup to global distributor and along the way learned some valuable lessons in business development.
Marcello Colosimo, CEO of The Australian Brewery, is one of six brothers who founded the company, which began in NSW’s Hunter Valley and is now based in western Sydney.
“Our first purpose was to get the beer right,” Colosimo told Business Insider.
The boys began by taking small steps, which along the way have become giant leaps, to produce award winning craft brews which have been distributed nationwide and overseas.
Here are 7 things Colosimo said The Australian Brewery learned from its global expansion.
Aim to innovate
The Australian Brewery were the first craft brewers to can their products.
“We’ve always aimed to be at the top of innovation when it comes to craft brewing in Australia, especially on an environmental and consumer beneficial level,” Colosimo said.
Going against convention and canning beers delivered huge savings in weight and materials and helped bolster exports to international markets, such as Singapore and Hong Kong.
Only fools rush in
“We’re very careful on selecting the right partnerships in each location,” Colosimo said.
“It’s not something we rush into lightly. Ensuring our partners all have the same business and brand philosophy and passion as we do enables us to ensure our business ethos is consistent throughout.”
Always think bigger
From the outset the brothers wanted a brand that went beyond Sydney’s West.
“This is why from the beginning we started with the development of our name, The Australian Brewery, portraying signs of our intention to go national and international,” Colosimo said.
The brewery has constantly seen sales increase to over 100% and as far as manufacturing expansion, “we are now double the size we were when launching,” he said.
Experience is advantage
“Having the experience of building and running a small brewery in the Hunter Valley gave us the insights of successful expansion methods into larger markets,” Colosimo said.
This prior know-how also allowed the brothers to maintain all brewing in-house, eliminating the margin for compromise.
Always consider the consumer
There’s a growing attitude among consumers that green is gold — meaning an environmentally friendly approach is a decisive point for customers.
The Australian Brewery dedicates a bunch of resources towards sustainable and eco-efficient operations.
“Almost three quarters of our heating requirements are powered from green solar energy, including the use of solar hot water,” Colosimo said.
“In line with this, we also recycle impressively large majorities of the glass, cardboard and oil that’s used.
“We donate all of our spent grains to a local farmer whose cows are said to wait by the gate as he arrives with, on average, 2-3 tonnes of beer infused grain every week.”
Quality is crucial
The Australian Brewery has a range of beers including a pale ale, pilsner, dark larger, Saison D’ Heretique, a fresh press cider, Mexican lager and an “extra happy ale”.
“Our brand and culture is key,” Colosimo said.
“As any growing business we are constantly innovating to better administer production and distribution, especially with our consistent growth, however our ethos remains the same – that every beer leaving our brewery is in perfect condition.”
Colosimo said the most visible sign of success is seeing how quickly beers and cider leave the brewery.
He also highlighted the amount of exposure and interest the brand has been generating both nationally and internationally.
“We even had an enquiry on shipping our beer to Kazakhstan recently,” he said, adding, “Anything’s possible.”
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