Lion has continued its acquisitive run, buying Bell’s Brewery in the United States, which it will merge with the New Belgium Brewing business Lion bought in 2019.

Combining Bell’s, currently the seventh largest craft beer producer in the US, with New Belgium will create a business that sits on top of the US craft beer market in terms of sales volume. The combined business will present a strong portfolio of beers and brands including the hugely popular Voodoo Ranger, Fat Tire, Two Hearted Ale and Oberon Ale.

Bell’s President Larry Bell, who brewed the company’s first beers in a 15-gallon soup kettle, said the decision to sell ultimately came down to two determining factors.

“First, the folks at New Belgium share our ironclad commitment to the craft of brewing and the community-first way we’ve built our business.

“Second, I’ve been doing this for more than 36 years and now is the right time. I want everyone who loves this company like I do to know we have found a partner that truly values our incredible beer, our culture, and the importance of our roots here in Michigan.”

Managing Director of Lion’s global craft beverages business, Matt Tapper said that Bell’s history, outstanding brewing credentials and brand appeal would complement New Belgium and support the expansion of Lion’s US operations.

“In terms of quality, capability and reputation, Bell’s is a standout in the American craft brewing scene.

“They’re a great match for New Belgium, another pioneering US craft brewer and both companies share a deep commitment to their co-workers, communities and customers. We’re thrilled to be taking this next step in the United States and bringing these two great names in craft brewing together.

“Just as Lion once crossed the Tasman to establish itself in Australia, now we have crossed the Pacific to form a leading craft beer business in the United States, the largest craft beer market in the world.”

Tapper added: “Since the successful acquisition of Colorado based New Belgium Brewing in 2019 it’s leading brand Voodoo Ranger has gone on to become the number one selling IPA in the US, propelling New Belgium to be the fastest growing craft beer business in the country.

“When we first partnered with New Belgium, we committed to not only support their growth, but protect and nurture their unique human-powered business model.

“This purpose-led business model and connection to its community were values we shared, and which we’ve continued to build upon since New Belgium became part of the Lion family – with flagship brand Fat Tire becoming the first carbon neutral beer in the United States.

“We’re pleased that these values and the craft culture we’ve fostered at New Belgium were key factors in the creation of this new partnership with Bell’s, and Lion looks forward to supporting both breweries in this next phase of growth.

The transaction will close upon receipt of all regulatory consents, which is expected in the coming months. 

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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