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Cost of living swallows up another Aussie icon

The Malt Shovel Brewery could close its doors permanently within months.

The Malt Shovel Brewery could close by August due to declining beer consumption and cost-of-living pressures.
The Malt Shovel Brewery could close by August due to declining beer consumption and cost-of-living pressures. (Google)

Cost-of-living pressures have been blamed for the impending closure of Malt Shovel Brewery. The Sydney brewery has been in operation for 36 years, but told staff it would move to close its doors forever in August.

Malt Shovel produces James Squire Beers for multi-billion dollar owner, Lion. It's also the "birthplace of Hahn", established by Chuck Hahn in 1988.

It's one of a string of craft breweries facing closure, with Lion Australia managing director James Brindley describing the current climate as "a tough time for all players in the Australian beer industry".

"There have also been ongoing cost of living pressures reducing discretionary spending, and continuing increases in costs like energy, labour and ingredients, as well as government excise, which is now the third-highest in the world," Brindley said.

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A "long-term decline in consumption of beer" has reached a tipping point, "with overall volumes declining by 100 million litres since 2019", he said.

Publicans and brewers alike have been crying out for help as a twice-yearly indexation has forced the price of beer to be unattainable for many suffering from the stubborn cost of living.

Alongside James Squire, the brewery produces craft beers like Eumundi, New Belgium and Little Creatures. They will be shifted to other locations under the Lion umbrella.

Lion, which also produces XXXX gold and Tooheys, is owned by Japanese company, Kirin.

The other big competitor in Australia is Carlton & United Breweries (CUB), which is also owned by a Japanese conglomerate; Asahi.

Together, they control about 80 per cent of Australia's local beer production.