Black Brewing: Wedding venue to cease trading after being sent into administration

Matt Mckenzie
The Nightly
Jessica Spittal who along with her fiancé Dylan Timu, lost their deposit to Black Brewing Co after they announced they went into voluntary administration.
Jessica Spittal who along with her fiancé Dylan Timu, lost their deposit to Black Brewing Co after they announced they went into voluntary administration. Credit: Ross Swanborough/The West Australian

Customers of a major wedding venue and brewery have been left scrambling after the company’s shock demise, and the business’s owners say they feel terrible.

The company behind Black Brewing and Dune Distilling was put in the hands of administrators from Avior Consulting on Tuesday, and the business is expected to cease trading on Saturday.

That’s thrown plans for once-in-a-lifetime marriage celebrations at the prominent South West venue on Caves Road in Wilyabrup into disarray.

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Jessica Spittal booked at Black Brewing in July last year for her November 2024 wedding to long-time partner Dylan, but has been left desperately searching for an alternate location.

“I’m trying to get another venue,” she told The West Australian.

“Weddings are crazy. A lot of things are booked out a year or two years in advance.”

Ms Spittal said she had paid a $5000 deposit and expected most customers would be unlikely to get any cash back. Those deposits will be considered in a pool with other creditors.

Ms Spittal said she had paid a $5000 deposit and expected most customers would be unlikely to get any cash back.
Ms Spittal said she had paid a $5000 deposit and expected most customers would be unlikely to get any cash back. Credit: Ross Swanborough/The West Australian

She’d also locked in a range of key wedding services for the day — such as photographers — while guests had booked accommodation.

“They would’ve been booked up two to three days a weekend. . . who knows how far in the future,” she said.

Another customer, Kirsten Swenson, said her wedding to partner Hayden had already been delayed by COVID-19 — and she now faces the task of finding another venue just eight weeks out from the big day.

Ms Swenson said she had already paid more than $15,000, including a deposit and a recent invoice. She believes she’s unlikely to get any cash back.

“I’ve got to come up with all that money all over again,” Ms Swenson said.

With family and friends booked to fly in from native New Zealand, she said “it would be devastating” to need to again reschedule the date. Ms Swenson said she had been working to find another venue for that weekend.

Black Brewing.
Black Brewing. Credit: Black Brewing

Part-owner Kristin Kestell said she had “not stopped crying since Tuesday”. Ms Kestell said she felt terrible for the staff and devastated for the customers.

Ms Kestell said the company’s shareholders had been putting cash into the business in recent years as rising rent, higher power costs and wider problems in hospitality hit hard.

But it was this week that it emerged the company could not keep trading, Ms Kestel said. The business had been forced to pay about $150,000 a year on wastewater treatment and a plan to build their own facility fell through, she said.

“It’s hard when you’re passionate . . . you don’t want to give up,” Ms Kestel said.

A filing to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission shows the business Very Luxury Very Famous — which traded as Black Brewing and Dune Distilling — had entered administration this week.

Avior’s Kelly Meyn said it was “a very tragic circumstance”, especially for couples who had paid deposits and would be unable to receive a refund.

Black Brewing won a series of awards in 2023.
Black Brewing won a series of awards in 2023. Credit: Black Brewing

He said he was in the process of contacting customers, with about 15 couples affected.

It’s understood a sale process for Black and Dune will be considered.

Black Brewing won a series of awards in 2023, including being named WA’s State Champion Brewery at the Independent Beer Awards.

The company told customers in a Thursday email that the business was “deeply upset”.

“It is with great regret that we have to inform you that Black Brewing Co will shortly cease trading with the close of business at the end of the day on Saturday 15th of June,” the email said.

“Our entire team would like to apologise for the circumstances and issues this will raise, we are all deeply upset at the closure of the business and the impact on you.

“We have reached out to local venues in the hope they can host your event, particularly for those events coming up in the near future.”

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