By James Atkinson

Craft brewer Stone & Wood is buying back the 20 per cent share of its business held by Lion as a result of the Kirin-owned company's recent takeover of Little World Beverages (LWB), brewer of Little Creatures.

The Byron Bay, NSW-based brewer was widely anticipated to become the next Little Creatures amid strong interest from the major brewers in the craft category.

But Stone & Wood founders Jamie Cook, Brad Rogers and Ross Jurisich have today confirmed they will be going it alone, with Lion's blessing.

"We, the founding shareholders of Stone & Wood, have taken the decision to buy back the Stone & Wood shares that are held by Little World Beverages Ltd / Lion," they said in a short statement.

"Whilst we believe Lion has displayed a thorough understanding of the craft beer market, and are currently better placed to participate in it than any other large brewer in the world, we feel we have made the right decision for our business."

LWB's 2010-11 Annual Report indicates a value of $284,000 for its 2009 investment in Stone & Wood.

The trio all worked for Foster's before launching Stone & Wood so they are not unfamiliar with the workings of a major brewery. [continues below]

Jamie Cook, Brad Rogers and Ross Jurisich

Tellingly, on his LinkedIn page, Ross Jurisich says their dream in launching Stone & Wood was to "quit 'working for the man', shed the corporate garbage and get back to basics".

A Lion spokeswoman said: "We appreciate the constructive approach Stone & Wood has taken in coming to this decision and wish them all the best for the future." 

Stone & Wood's announcement comes just as veteran craft brewer Mountain Goat reaffirmed its commitment to independence.

Stone & Wood said this year has already been filled with many milestones, with the brewer having doubled its production capacity to produce upward of one million litres.

"We are only four years into our journey and we have a lot of hard work and good times in front of us," they said.

"We love playing an active role in developing craft beer in Australia and are looking forward to what lies ahead as we continue to write the Stone & Wood Brewing Company story."

The Shout Team

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

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