By James Atkinson

New owner Lion must not meddle with the Little Creatures brand and beers, some of the craft brewing icon's key accounts have told TheShout.

At Adelaide craft beer specialist pub, The Wheatsheaf, which has served Little Creatures Pale Ale and Rogers continuously for seven years, publican Jade Flavell told TheShout she will be taking a 'wait and see' approach to the takeover news.

"We were one of the first pubs outside WA to be pouring their whole range, at the time," she said.

"We're not going to throw a tantrum and stop pouring Creatures because of the takeover, but we're far less inclined to work as hard as we have for them in the past."

Flavell said the "big proviso" for Lion is that the beers "aren't diminished in any way".

"It's always about the beer for us – if we perceive there to be some quality changes, then they'll go," she said.

Flavell said it would be unprecedented for a multinational company to acquire a craft brewery and not muck around with the beers.

"There's certainly no examples of [a multinational] improving them," she said.

"I suspect Lion won't be able to help themselves, and will start tinkering around the edges, as beancounters do."

In Sydney, Geoff Huens, of specialist craft beer retailer Beer Cartel, recently told TheShout he hopes Lion does not overhaul and "corporatise" the company culture of Little Creatures.

"I think that's quite important for the staff that work there, as well as for the people that interact with the staff," he said.

"With Little Creatures, they're just so passionate about their brand, and that passion is infectious."

Huens said he hopes that Little Creatures continues to release its Small Batch brews, which have developed a cult following.

"If they stop doing interesting things with Little Creatures, if they were to go down that track, that’s when we would lose interest with it," he said.

Flavell said it was a "real shame" Little Creatures couldn't continue to fly the flag for being a big, successful, independent Australian craft brewery.

"You've got great examples in the U.S. of fiercely independent craft breweries like Sierra Nevada and Stone who are expanding at a rate of knots but they are still guarding their independence," she said.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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