By James Atkinson

Lion would in theory end up with a 20 per cent stake in craft brewer Stone & Wood if the Kirin-owned company's takeover of Little World Beverages goes ahead, but both parties have declined to speculate on the possible outcomes of the deal at this stage.

Lion takeover target Little World Beverages LWB purchased 20 per cent of Stone & Wood in February 2009.

LWB's 2010-11 Annual Report indicates a value of $284,000 for the investment, which is included among the company's total unlisted shareholdings of $385,000.

A Lion spokeswoman told TheShout the company "has engaged with the management of Stone & Wood but it is early days and it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this stage".

Stone & Wood co-founder Jamie Cook told TheShout the brewer will "just have to wait and see what transpires".

"We don't really know until such time as that transaction actually happens, which isn't going to be until October," he said.

Cook said Little World invested in Stone & Wood because they could see the potential in the company.

"We knew the guys quite well, it was a really nice relationship – they gave us the space to do what we wanted to do, which is probably a similar situation to what they have with Lion.

"You'd rather have a brewer on your board than Uncle Fred who doesn't know anything about brewing."

Cook said that with its new brewery now running at full capacity, Stone & Wood is finally starting to get on top of outstanding orders for its hugely popular Pacific Ale.

"Now in the next month or so we'll focus on getting on top of the Lager, which is a product that's been sitting to one side while we wait to catch up on Pacific Ale," he said.

"We're starting to get some initial interest in Jasper Ale, so that's probably the next thing for us."

Cook said Stone & Wood's annual small batch 'Stone Beer' will also be available soon.

"It's up around seven per cent [ABV], much bigger and darker," he said.

The Shout Team

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

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