It has been a long time coming but we’ve finally got our hands on the complete list of pubs that Foster’s and Lion Nathan own across Australia and we’re keen for your war stories.
Anyway, let’s take a look at the full list in all its glory as it dawns on you just how big Foster’s are in the pub and gambling game.
I can remember Ivor Ries, the legendary business journalist who has left a huge hole at the Fin Review, writing a column estimating that the doubling of the Foster’s share price over a couple of years was largely due to all the profits from their booming gambling business.
When Victorian Premier Steve Bracks was considering slugging each machine with a $4000 annual tax recently, Foster’s CEO Ted Kunkel was promising the mother of all campaigns, not dissimilar to the one pulled on by the brewers earlier in the year to get the beer excise rise overturned.
Anyway, check out this list of pubs and then we’ll have a look at the Lion Nathan equivalents. To the eternal credit of Lion, they own the pubs to sell beer rather than becoming rapacious gambling promoters like Foster’s.
PUBS OWNED BY FOSTER’S IN VICTORIA
Bayswater, Beach House, Belmont, Blackburn, Blue Bell, Burvale, Club Hotel, Cramers, Daveys, Deer Park, Doncaster, Donview Motel, Elsternwick, Eltham, Esplanade, Ferntree Gully Hotel, Ferntree Gully Motel, Gateway, Keysborough, Lyndhurst Club, Mac’s Melton, Manhattan, Meadow Inn, Middle Park, Mitcham, Morwell, Mountain View, Olinda Creek, Pier, Plough, Powell, Preston, Prince Mark, Princes Highway, Rifle Club, Rose Shamrock, Royal – Essendon, Royal – Sunbury, Royal Exchange, Sandbelt Club, Sandown Park, Sandringham, Somerville, Stamford, Sylvania, Tudor Inn, Vale, Victoria, Village Green, Westmeadows Tavern, Young & Jacksons
NEW SOUTH WALES
Amber Lounge, Australian, Blacktown Inn, Brown Jug Hotel, Colyton Hotel, Crows Nest Hotel, Kirribilli Hotel, Melton Hotel, Narrabeen Sands, New Brighton, Parkway Hotel, Pioneer Tavern, Pymble Hotel, Smithfield Tavern
Acacia Ridge, Aitkenvale Motel, Albany Creek Tavern, Albion, Alderley Arms, Alexandra Headland, Anglers Arms, Balaclava, Balmoral, Banyo Tavern, Black Nugget, Breakfast Creek, Brook Bungalow, Burleigh Heads, Caloundra, Camp Hill, Chardons Corner, Coal N Cattle, Coolum Beach, Country Club, Dalyrymple, East End, Edinburgh Castle, Everton Park, Fasta Pasta Redbank, Fasta Pasta Stafford City, Fasta Pasta Wintergarden, Ferny Grove Tavern, Forest Lake, Grand, Hamilton, Holland Park, Homestead Tavern, Imperial, Jolly Collier, Kawana Waters, Kedron Park, Kirwan Tavern, Kooyong, Lawnton Tavern, Logan City, Melbourne, Miami Tavern, Mount Gravatt, Mount Pleasant Tavern, Newmarket, Noosa Reef, Overlander, Palm Beach, Petrie, Prince of Wales, Racehorse, Raceview Tavern, Raintrees Tavern, Redland Bay, Rocky Glen, Royal Exchange, Springwood, Stones Corner, Sunnybank, Torquay, The Vale, Waterloo Bay, Wilsonton, Woree Tavern
Aberfoyle Hub Tavern, Albion Hotel, Bayview Hotel, Bridgeport Hotel, Enfield Hotel, Eureka Tavern, Exchange Hotel, Exeter Hotel, Finsbury Hotel, Gepps Cross Hotel, Hendon Hotel, Jens Town Hall Hotel, New Reservoir Hotel, Northern Hotel, Ramsgate Hotel, Risdon Hotel, Stockade Tavern
Brass Monkey, Captain Stirling, Como, Foundry Pub & Grill, Lynwood Arms, Queens Tavern, Sail & Anchor (Pub Brewery), Wanneroo Villa Tavern, Willagee Park.
Lion Nathan got fed up with having no presence in the Victorian market last year and ploughed almost $100 million into a pub, pourage rights and sponsorship strategy designed to get their share up above 15 per cent. The market share has crept higher but the pubs they bought have been struggling to provide a return on the exorbitant prices paid.
Anyway, check out the list of Lion hotels and then we’ll look at the stadium battles between the two beer giants.
The 45 pubs Lion Nathan have bought in Victoria
21 Arms Hotel, Ballarat
Albert Park Hotel, Albert Park
Builders Arms Hotel, Fitzroy
Byblos Cafe51 Bar (formerly Station Bar), Prahran
Canada Hotel, Carlton
Casey’s Nite Spot, Hawthorn
Cherry Tree Hotel, Richmond
Clarendon (formerly Intrepid Fox), Sth Melbourne
Clude Hotel, Carlton
Court House Hotel, Bendigo
Darby Ogills, Bendigo
Dogs Bar (Hotel Columbo), St Kilda
Eclipse Nightclub (Royal Mail Hotel), Bendigo
Felix Bar, St Kilda
Geebung Polo Club, Hawthorn
Geebung Polo Club, Flemington
Geelong Hotel, Geelong
Golden Gate Hotel, Sth Melbourne
Governor Hotham Hotel, Hawthorn
Grace Darling Hotel, Collingwood
Hogs Breath Cafe51, Ballarat
Imperial Hotel, Sth Yarra
Limerick Arms Hotel, Sth Melbourne
Melbourne Depot, Richmond
Metro Nightclub, Bourke St City
Molly Blooms, Port Melbourne
Naughtons Hotel, Parkville
Perseverance Hotel, Fitzroy
Preston Hotel, Geelong
Prince Alfred Hotel, Carlton
Provincial Hotel, Fitzroy
Queensberry Hotel, Carlton
Rattle n Hum, Ballarat
Red Eagle, Albert Park
Richmond Club Hotel, Richmond
Rob Roy Hotel, Fitzroy
Sante Fe Hotel, Melbourne
Star Bar, Bendigo
Studio 54, Bendigo
The London Bar Cafe51, Port Melbourne
The Match Bar and Bakehouse, Bendigo
The Max Hotel, Geelong
Tonic Lounge Bar, Bendigo
Veludo Bar Restaurant, St Kilda
Crikey subscribers have been sending in their tales about the growing number of pubs that used to be independent and now are owned by either the Japanese-controlled Lion Nathan or those pokies pushers at Foster’s.
We like to back the independents and the underdogs here at Crikey because we’re competition zealots and don’t like big business too much. For that reason we’d encourage you to drink Australian-owned and Australian-made Coopers which is still owned by the Cooper family of Adelaide.
We’d also love to throw our weight behind independent brew houses. Maybe we should start a list of independent, pokies-free pubs that we can recommend. They need a decent owner, a good atmosphere and, ideally, an independent brew such as the Fitzroy Bitter that you can pick up at the Labour in Vain on Brunswick Street in Melbourne.
Alternatively, if you’ve got any stories about some of these pubs owned by Foster’s or Lion, then send them in. Here is three from Crikey subscribers to start with:
Noise problems at the Mountain View
Greetings again Stephen
Can I suggest an addition to your list of Fosters/ALH hotels – how many of them are disrupting their local neighbourhoods.
Our experience is with the Mountain View. ALH took it over about four years ago, applied for a Liquor Licence extension for the existing bistro, got an extension until 3 am and promptly turned the bistro into a night club. The night club was never mentioned in their application to the local council or Liquor Licensing Authority so of course there were also no requirements on them to sound proof, limit traffic noise, etc. You were there recently I think so you know it is on the corner of a residential area.
I won’t go in to a lot of detail here because the whole sad (and unfortunately ongoing) saga is documented on a web site www.nightclubnoise.mainpage.net but there were many residents’ meetings, standing room only at several sittings of the Liquor Licensing Commission, a resident’s candidate standing at the last council election and even the local MP naming ALH in parliament as a bad corporate citizen before things improved a little.
Love to know how many other residents Fosters are thumbing their noses at.
Cheers, a Crikey Subscriber in Melbourne.
Bar room brawls on Foster’s turf
This will show up my bar room suntan, but I counted 25 of those Victorian pubs I’ve had a drink at, 2 in NSW and 1 in Qld (I don’t go outside my comfort zone too much). For a total of 28.
Should I be proud or embarrassed? Someone out there will better that.
The Racecourse Hotel in Caulfield (almost Malvern East) was also a Foster’s pub, and I saw some beautiful fights in there when Foster’s owned it. It was Demolition Bob (he even had a meal there named after him) and his merry team of men against all comers. Even the bar maids used to jump in and throw punches to stop the fights. Magic. Con must have had a drink in the Morwell, my favourite was the Top Pub in Morwell, as it was full of colourful local identities with interesting stories to tell, and the tables used to be bolted to the floor – just like the pub in ‘Once were warriors’.
XXXX sign on a Foster’s pub
There’s an interesting story that’s done the rounds up here in Queensland, and of which your latest email reminded me. You list the Breakfast Creek Tavern as Foster’s owned, and it’s interesting that it still has its huge old XXXX sign on the roof. The story goes that Castlemaine Perkins managed to get the sign heritage listed before the pub was sold and those poor mugs at Foster’s now own their competition’s advertising sign but aren’t allowed to get rid of it.
Quite clever, no?
This is from something I sent out earlier this year about the stadium wars between the two brewing giants.
Stadium battles as well
The tit-for tat beer wars between Lion Nathan and CUB continue at a merry pace with CUB securing the exclusive pourage rights to Subiaco stadium in Perth earlier this year.
CUB have made amazing inroads into the Perth market over the years. Cast your mind back to 1986 and Bondy then had more than 90 per cent of the market but this is now back down towards 50 per cent and falling fairly rapidly.
It would be fair to say that CUB probably paid several million to Subiaco for the pourage rights when you consider that they paid almost $20 million for the exclusive pourage rights at Docklands Stadium in Melbourne last year. It was this move and the new pourage rights deal at the MCG that saw CUB deliver a very disappointing second half profit in August last year.
Ironically, that $20 million CUB paid Colonial went straight to Ron Evans and the boys at Spotless to terminate their venue management contract. Colonial lost $25 million last year and is in about as much strife as Stadium Australian since ANZ pulled out of its $50 million naming rights deal. Who’d want to be in the business of owning stadia? It’s a dog.
Similarly, stories abound of how bad the Lion Nathan strategy of buying up 45 trendy Victorian pubs is going. They’ve paid a motza for all the pubs around Melbourne Uni so it is now a VB free zone. Many students are walking that bit further to get the cherished green label icon. We understand that one of the pubs around Melbourne Uni have a sneaky unmarked VB tap out the back for die-hard customers who refuse to drink anything else.
Foster’s have also thrown money at the Melbourne Uni student union and they’ve even put a big bar right in the middle of the campus to hook the young drinkers on VB.
And can you believe Lion Nathan bought Melbourne’s most famous night club, The Metro in Bourke St, and built an almighty bar in the middle of the stage so that they can no longer have any major bands play there. It’s madness.
At first Lion Nathan said they paid about $45 million for the pubs but now the publicly stated figure is up to $65 million. If you know the individual prices paid for some of these pubs then send them through and we’ll try to add it all up.
For instance, we’re told by a neighbour of the Metro that the famous Bourke St night club changed hands for $9.5 million – the biggest price paid for a single venue. And another theory is that Lion Nathan’s Japanese parent Kirin is a 50-50 joint venture partner with its 45 per cent subsidiary, thereby reducing the direct spend by Lion Nathan.