Lion’s global craft division, Lion Little World Beverages (LWB), is set to acquire one of the United States’ leading craft breweries, New Belgium Brewing. 

The partnership was revealed this week when it was announced the companies have signed a definitive agreement for LWB to acquire 100 per cent of New Belgium Brewing in an all-cash transaction. The transaction is expected to close by the end of this year, pending approvals closing conditions.

LWB was first established in 2015, evolving over time to launch the Australian Little Creatures brand into the US, UK and Asian markets, and adding UK craft brands, Fourpure and Magic Rock.

But until now, Lion and parent company Kirin have had a limited presence in the domestic US craft beer market, despite a significant portfolio across the rest of the world, including Australia. 

Lion CEO Stuart Irvine said it was an exciting time to be taking the next step in the US market. 

“We’re excited to welcome New Belgium Brewing into the Lion fold and take a significant step forward in the largest craft beer market in the world. We’re confident that our shared values and commitment to purpose and culture will provide the foundation for a great partnership in the US,” Irvine said.

“Kirin has entrusted Lion with leading its global craft beer strategy and today’s announcement is an important milestone for all of us as we look to drive growth in markets beyond Australia, New Zealand and Japan.”

Kim Jordan, co-founder of New Belgium Brewing, said that the choice to go with Lion was due to the similarities that the companies share at their core. 

“If there are three things we’re known for at New Belgium, it’s our dedication to innovation and excellence in beer, our commitment to the culture and wellbeing of our co-workers and our crazy enthusiasm for being a business role model. We were thinking about these three things as we began to explore being a part of the Little World Beverages family,” Jordan said.

“We’ve been pushing the boundaries of beer innovation as pioneers for almost three decades. Lion Little World Beverages are brewers’ brewers and we have really felt their commitment to this ancient craft. We’re absolutely excited about helping to build a collective of breweries – each with their own vibe – who share the same commitment to delighting beer drinkers with great beer, great businesses, and great collaboration among us.” 

Jordan will play a key advisory role in collaborating alongside other founders within the LWB network. New Belgium Brewing headquarters will also remain in the same place in Fort Collins, Colorado, and CEO Steve Fechheimer will continue on with the same management team.

Brydie Allen

Brydie Allen is the Editor of National Liquor News. She has been with Food and Beverage Media since 2019, when she joined the company as a journalist across National Liquor News, Bars & Clubs, The...

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