Carwyn Cellars has joined forces with the Fox Friday Brewery team, following the brewery’s acquisition of the popular retailer and bar, known for being a champion of independent beer.
Having signed the deal on Monday 28 August, Tasmania-based brewery Fox Friday has welcomed the innovative retailer to its portfolio. Both parties have confirmed that there are no changes planned to the day-to-day operation of Carwyn Cellars or its existing team, with Fox Friday expressing an interest in expanding the offering interstate.
“We’re excited and very honoured to be a part of Carwyn Cellars, a place that has been around for a very long time and built itself a wonderful name,” said Benny Hooper, Co-founder of Fox Friday.
“Hats off to the team, and what Ben and Nicole Carwyn, and Ben Duval, have achieved over the last 16 years. I think what they have achieved in the craft world is just amazing. When you think of craft beer in Melbourne, and even around Australia, you think of Carwyn Cellars, with the likes of their Black Box and the Canvent Calendar.”
Ben Duval, Co-founder of Carwyn Cellars, explained how the team approached Fox Friday about the acquisition.
“The partnership with Fox Friday came about very naturally. We have become friends with the Fox crew through various projects and collaborations over the last couple of years. We approached them casually to see if there was any interest and the rest is history.
“The opportunity to work with one of the most exciting beer brands in Australia is pretty cool. We’re in disbelief of what Benny and the Fox team have achieved in such a short space of time and we’re thrilled to join the family.”
Adding Carwyn Cellars to the Fox group portfolio, which includes the recent purchase of Tasmania’s Moonah Hotel and Cellars, Hooper explained how Carwyn Cellars will fit in with Fox Friday’s existing projects, and the plans they have for the future of the retailer.
“With Carwyn Cellars, and the fact that the management team are staying on board, we’re able to keep running it as it is and trying to build on it separately to Fox, but also utilise their experience and try to have some synergies across the Fox group.
“We will look to expand and maybe move into different states, we have touched on it briefly but there is definitely opportunity if it’s the right place and the right time. We want to keep the fabric and stay strong, then look to opportunities outside of what’s already in place.
“I just want to work with the best in the industry, and by doing something like this we’re enabling ourselves and our team to continue being able to do that.”
Since its inception in 2007, Carwyn Cellars has earned a legacy as a leading craft beer retailer. Duval spoke about the evolution of business and what the acquisition will mean for the retail store.
“When I started over 10 years ago, it was just a bottle-o that dabbled in what craft was available. Over time, we managed to move locations, add a bar, a kitchen and the whole online side of the business, which has really brought us national attention.
“Some epic highlights come to mind, from big US launches like Side Project and Bottle Logic to unique and boundary pushing events like our 24 Hour Bakery, Midnight Sour and the Carwyn Collaborational.
“The entire Carwyn management team and staff are staying on, so don’t expect any noticeable changes initially. Going forward however, this will allow us to achieve certain things that we have always wanted to do, but have put on the backburner since the start of Covid. Think festivals, some direct importing and a few other special projects.”
Situated in Thornbury, Carwyn Cellars celebrates independent producers of beer, wine and spirits in-store at its shop and bar, as well as offering online retail services. Duval spoke about the ways in which Carwyn Cellars has been able to support the craft beer category over the years.
“We’ve tried to strike a balance between supporting the best of local craft and the best we can get our mitts on from abroad. We’ve always championed independent only, but the most important thing for us is quality. We’d like to think we’ve helped grow some of the best beer brands in Australia over the years, it’s been fun.”
“I feel confident that Fox will continue, and grow, the legacy that the Carwyn team have worked so hard to build. We are very similarly aligned, in fact scarily so, expect big things.”