Case Study: Bondi Brewing Co

Case Study: Bondi Brewing Co (fictional family owned business)
The Bondi Brewing Company was established as one of Australia’s first boutique breweries in the mid-
1980s when an inspired Bruce Sullivan returned from three years studying the emerging craft beer scene
in the UK and USA.
He was initially met with opposition by the large brewers but despite the troubles encountered, he won
national and international accolades for his beer and, by the late 1990s he was one of the most
experienced and significant craft brewers in the nation. By 2005 his brewery had expanded from the
boutique brewery serving its range of craft beers with food and music at Bondi Beach to full scale
production with national distribution contracts to Australia’s largest distributors.
Through the time Bruce built his company, he engaged family members to work with him and build the
business. His brother and two sisters started by helping out in the brewery and cellar door but they
quickly had to upskill to meet business demands. Over the three decades the organization had grown,
many of the Sullivan family’s children also joined the business which was by now a highly profitable,
large scale operation.
As Bruce considered his nearing retirement he realized there were many challenges for this familyowned business if it was to continue as a successful brewing company. He identified the need to
appoint a CEO to replace him rather than promote one of the younger family members. This decision
created problems within the family who expected the promotion would be internal. Bruce was
determined however that for the business to be sustainable he needed to bring in someone who could
change the informal culture and structure. He was aware Bondi Brewing Co had a reputation for hiring
family members over genuine talent and there was a high staff turnover of disillusioned and disengaged
non-family members in the executive and management roles.
Current issues:
Emily Allison has been appointed the CEO of Bondi Brewing Co. and Bruce Sullivan has stepped back
from his role and is now the Chair of the Board. Emily reports to the Board that she has immediately
identified multiple issues and challenges that need to be faced if the company is to have a sustainable
future and gain a reputation as an Employer of Choice.
Due to the laid-back culture of the business, Emily highlighted the immediate need to define the
business’ strategies and goals. Alarmingly, there were no KPIs because the business had been so
successful, there were no targets other than meeting budget. There were no documented policies or
procedures and no guidance or structure for employees to work towards. Non-family employees quickly
tired of the culture and its lack of an external view and Emily highlighted a lack of true talent in the
Faced with these issues, Emily told the Board a mentoring and coaching program would be necessary for
the Executive and Front Line Managers, including herself. As the organization moved toward a more
sustainable and appropriate workplace culture she could see that people would benefit from the
opportunity to discuss with a mentor the impact of the changing structure on their engagement,
performance and career paths. Emily knew firsthand the benefits to employee engagement and
productivity that Coaching could provide and planned to provide the Board with plans for a formal
coaching program within the business. She sought a range of opinions to help her assess the overall
situation, some of whom recommended an approach that involved utilizing external consultant
mentors/coaches while others recommended establishing internal coaching programs where staff
members coach each other, with only Emily working with an external Mentor. Emily and the Board
must decide which way forward will be best for Bondi Brewing Co.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *