Good Beer Hunting

Lost and Grounded Says G’Day, Expands Distribution Down Under

Lost and Grounded Brewery Interior 14.jpg

Lost and Grounded Brewers will soon begin exporting to Australia via distribution partners Square Keg. The Bristol, UK-based brewery will begin by exclusively exporting its Keller Pils, which currently makes up around 50% of its total production. The first kegs are expected to arrive on Aussie shores and be distributed nationally this February.

Lost and Grounded Founders Alex Troncoso and Annie Clements have strong links to Australia. Clements originally hails from Tasmania, and the couple original met in Melbourne before relocating to the UK at the start of 2013. Troncoso also spent just shy of nine years working for Australia’s Little Creatures Brewery, which is now owned by Kirin subsidiary Lion. Several of Little Creatures’ original founders are also investors in Lost and Grounded.

“The discussion first started was when we were approached by our friends at Stone & Wood (which is based in Australia’s Byron Bay) who needed to send some of their empty kegs back from London,” Troncoso tells GBH. “We both figured it was better to send some beer in those kegs, rather than just ship kegs full of air back to Australia.”

According to UK trade body The British Beer and Pub Association, mass-produced Lager currently makes up around 75% of the UK beer market. However, while the sales of mass produced Lagers within Britain are largely flat, craft brewers are seeing immense growth on the back of snowballing Lager sales. London’s Fourpure and The Five Points Brewing Co, along with Lost and Grounded itself, are just a few examples of this, with the former recently completing a large scale expansion to meet increasing demand.

The Australian market is also largely dominated by domestic Lager brands, though high quality imports are certainly making an impression. Brooklyn Lager, for example, was deemed so popular that it’s now contract brewed in Australia by Cooper’s. Scotland’s BrewDog also intends to build a brewery there in order to meet growing demand in the Southern Hemisphere.

There may also be room for new brands like Lost and Grounded to enter this market. Square Keg, which will be bringing Keller Pils to the Aussies, has already seen similar import success with brands such as Aspall’s Cider (which was recently acquired by Molson Coors) and Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing.

“Distributing Lost and Grounded Keller Pils is very important to us. It’s a great complementary beer to have in our portfolio of Australian domestic and international brands,” Square Keg managing partner Garry Hastings tells GBH. “The trade are very excited and have been placing orders before the beer has even arrived in Australia.”

The beer will be cold-stored for the entirety of its eight-week shipping time from the UK to Australia and then be placed into Square Keg’s cold-chain distribution system. By pre-selling the entire batch, Hastings hopes that the rapid turnover of the beer will ensure that it’s enjoyed in peak condition. The empty kegs will then be returned to Stone & Wood before heading back to the UK filled with its own beers, cutting costs and boosting the presence of both breweries in the process.

For Lost and Grounded, this is an opportunity to make a mark in the country where its brewing journey began, no doubt fueling growth back home in the UK as a result. Maintaining that link to its point of origin is helping to provide this brewery with some extra leverage in a competitive market as it nears completion of its second full year in trading.

“We are proud of what we have created and want to share that with our peers, friends, and family in Australia,” Troncoso says. “Our favorite haunt in Melbourne, The Old Bar, a fantastic rock ’n’ roll pub, has pre-ordered a keg. We can’t wait to see our old friends enjoying some pints!”

—Matthew Curtis