UK: Lion goes shopping for craft beer, gin, ice tea and wine

Lion Brewing, the Australian arm of Kirin from Japan, has acquired a second UK craft brewery within less than 9 months. The brewing company has bought 100 percent of Yorkshire-based craft beer legend Magic Rock. In July 2018, the company had already purchased 100 percent of Fourpure BrewingCo., based in UK’s capital London

Magic Rock was founded in 2011 by Richard Burhouse and head brewer Stuart Ross and is considered to be one of the pioneers in the Bristish craft beer scene. About 15,000 hl of beer are being produced at Magic Rock’s Huddersfield brewery which was opened in 2015 and employs 45 people.

“We are now close to maxing out the capacity of our current brewery,” Burhouse pointed out in a statement on the brewery’s website.

“It’s clear that the next expansion will need some deep pockets to provide the equipment we need to take us to the next level. We’ve looked at different funding options including our traditional approach, as well as private equity and crowd funding but none appealed or gave us the strategic help and brewing expertise we think is necessary for the next step.”

“While there’s never been a plan to sell the business, we’ve had a number of approaches over the past few years, but none of them felt like a good fit until we started talking with Lion. Lion first approached us back in August 2018 and we were immediately impressed with their ambition, pedigree and approach to beer.”

“I’m delighted to announce that Lion are committed to beer production in Huddersfield for the long-term and there’ll be no cost-cutting; on the contrary there’ll be an increase in our commitment to the quality and innovation characterises our beers.”

“As part of the deal with Lion, myself and the other shareholders are committed to the business for at least the next four years – and I expect long after that. It’s testament to Lion’s philosophy that in other breweries they’ve invested in, the founders (such as Chuck Hahn in Australia) are still involved many years later.”

“The production site expansion will encompass the leasing of additional units adjacent to our Huddersfield site. We’ll be installing a state of the art automated brewhouse and enough additional tank capacity to massively increase capacity. There’ll also be improvements to our infrastructure including new offices, lab, quality control and sensory departments.”

“With the help of our distribution partners we want to grow our local, national and international sales so hopefully you should be seeing lots more Magic Rock beers out and about. We also have long term plans for additional retail sites and will soon be announcing another Magic Rock Tap in the local area,” Burhouse concludes.

This is not Lion’s only acquisition this month. Just one week ago, the company announced that is has acquired 50 percent of Four Pillars Gin, a craft Gin brand from Victoria, Australia. It was established by Stuart Gregor, Cameron MackKenzie and Matt Jones and almost doubled growth every year since its beginnings in 2013. Today Gin is one of the fasted growing spirits in Australia. Locally-made gin accounts already for almost 13.8 percent of all gin consumed  in Australia.

Last week Lion also bought Tezla Iced Teas from New Zealand, which will join Lion’s soft drink divison with brands like Höpt-Soda and Mac’s soft dink; and St. Helena-based Markham Vineyards and Napa-based Textbook by its U.S. based wine business Distinguished Vineyards & Wine Partners.

Share this article: