It was announced in early April that Black Hops Brewing was forced to enter voluntary administration, with Deloitte Turnaround & Restructuring partners facilitating a financial restructuring of the business.

One month later, the Gold Coast brewery took to social media to announce it had been saved from administration after a consortium of previous investors and supporters of Black Hops formed a new company, Black Hops Craft Pty Ltd, and acquired the brewery.

Since the acquisition, Black Hops has now announced the appointment of its new CEO, Nick Boots, marking a new chapter for the brewery.

As an industry veteran who has held General Manager roles at both Kegstar and Stone & Wood, the team are optimistic about Boots’ appointment.

Luke McCormack, General Manager of Transition and co-owner of Black Hops Craft Pty Ltd, said: “One of our highest priorities in taking ownership of Black Hops was searching for an experienced leader to guide the business forward. Clearly, Nick has a track record of results in the industry, and we’re thrilled to have him on board.

“From day one of the business transition, the passion and talent within the Black Hops team was clear. Our commitment was to find our team a leader to take us forward and we believe we’ve delivered this for the business in the earliest of days,” he continued.

Just two weeks into the role, Boots spoke to The Shout about his ambitions for Black Hops, explaining that his priorities lie in maintaining the culture and team already within the business, while steering it back into profitability.

“The encouraging news is that stability and maintaining the previous momentum of the brand is absolutely top of the agenda,” he said.

“Unfortunately, the business had been run for many years fuelled by debt, and unprofitably, so we’re very much focused on going back to basics and ensuring we’ve got a strong business structure that produces good beer and is profitable, so we can ensure the longevity and stability of the business and brand.

“My number one priority is ensuring that [Black Hops] provides strong stable employment, and from there we can go back to growing our business and ultimately growing our team. I’m really optimistic we’ll be able to do that.”

The sale of Black Hops included the production site, equipment, assets, intellectual property and beer recipes, which will continue to be produced.

While it’s still early days for Boots, he says that his immediate focus for the business is to critically evaluate the portfolio, and potentially broaden the offering of the brewery to meet a wider scope of market demands.

“We’re undertaking a major brand review at the moment, and we’re quickly turning our thoughts to the summer ahead. We know that people love our beers, but we need to do some work around what the Black Hops brand stands for and who it appeals to, and to look at how we will capitalise on the opportunities summer provides.

“Black Hops is well known for producing high quality craft beers, but we’re conscious that craft beer is not for everybody. If we have opportunities to produce other beers that appeal to different market segments, that’s the sort of thing we’ll investigate.

“We’ve got a world class brewery here on the Gold Coast, and we want to see that brewery running consistently. That might mean making different styles of different beers than just the styles of beer we made previously,” he added.

While Boots expressed his excitement about embarking on this new chapter, he also addressed the challenges that forced the brewery into administration, and how he hopes to tackle them.

“A number of the challenges have come from the macro environment, that we have no influence on, for example, inflation and being the third highest excise tax nation in the world. None of those things are going to change, so we need to make sure that we have an internal strategy that takes all of those macro issues into account, and ensures that we’re prepared for those things to continue.

“In a perfect world, we’d like to see them change and we’d like to see an excise tax freeze for a period of time by the government, but we need to plan for the worst and hope for the best.”

Acknowledging the difficult operating climate for brewers right now, Boots believes that his industry knowledge and experience will go a long way in ensuring that the business establishes a sustainable strategy, and takes Black Hops where it needs to be from a brand perspective.

“Every business has its challenges, so it’s great to have worked in other businesses that were quite successful in their own right but certainly had their own challenges along the way.

“The key message for Black Hops is that, yes, the business has been bought out of administration by a great new bunch of shareholders who have recapitalised the business, and we’re setting plans in place for the exciting next chapter of Black Hops,” he stated.

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. Great to hear the good news, looking forward to seeing what the future brings for Black Hops. Ive always loved Black Hops beers escpecially the Seasonal/limiteds.
    I will keep supporting you guys and will keep stocking your beers at my workplace.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *