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Last drinks: Swan Brewery to close

Australia's biggest brewer, Lion, has announced this afternoon its intention to close the Swan Brewery located at Canning Vale in Western Australia with the loss of around 80 jobs.

James Brindley, managing director Lion Beer, Spirits & Wine Australia said in a statement that Lion had undertaken a regular review of its operations which showed the Swan Brewery has been operating substantially below full capacity for some time and would require significant ongoing capital investment to maintain its current operations - which was no longer sustainable.

“This is not something we have taken lightly and is no reflection on the dedication and capability of our people at the Swan Brewery or the importance of the WA market to our business. We will be consulting with our people to support them through this significant change," Mr Brindley said.

The closure of the site will result in 80 roles being made redundant, and will also impact contract labour requirements. An additional 55 roles in sales and support functions will not be impacted, Lion said, and will be relocated to a new office site within WA.

Lion intends to transfer its WA keg production and the brewing of Swan and Emu to its West End Brewery in South Australia and its WA pack production to its James Boag & Son Brewery in Tasmania.

Lion will invest $70 million into West End Brewery to increase cider and international brand capability and to accommodate the brewing of WA keg production. At James Boag & Son, Lion will invest $12 million to increase the Brewery's capability to brew national brands and to accommodate WA pack production. New roles created in both South Australia and Tasmania will be made available to people at the Swan Brewery as a first priority.

“Lion remains committed to the Swan and Emu brands and to the Western Australian market,” Mr Brindley said. “Our ongoing sales presence in WA and our recent acquisition of Little World Beverages demonstrate that we continue to see WA as an important part of our future.”

The closure is expected to be completed by the end of March 2013.