- Lion’s global craft division, Lion Little World Beverages, to acquire New Belgium Brewing, one of the leading independent craft breweries in the U.S. with a commitment to invest in innovation and capability that fuels future growth of its brands in the U.S. and global markets.
- This partnership establishes an expanded presence for Lion Little World Beverages in the U.S. craft market, the largest in the world representing two thirds of the global craft beer market by volume.
- New Belgium Brewing is represented in all 50 states and is in the top 5 craft breweries in the U.S., providing Lion Little World Beverages with immediate scale in the world’s largest market for craft beer.
19 November 2019 – Lion‘s global craft beverages division, Lion Little World Beverages (LWB) and New Belgium Brewing today announced that the companies have signed a definitive agreement for Lion Little World Beverages to acquire 100% of New Belgium in an all cash transaction. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2019, pending approvals by regulators and the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) in addition to other customary closing conditions.
New Belgium Brewing is a pioneer of world-class beer and wood-aged sours in the United States. Since the company was established in 1991, it has grown to become a leading craft brewer with adored brands, such as Fat Tire Amber Ale and Voodoo Ranger IPA, in addition to two state-of-the-art brewing facilities in Fort Collins, Colorado and Asheville, North Carolina, and a national distribution platform.
Lion and parent company Kirin, combined, have a significant craft beer portfolio outside the U.S. but until now have had a limited presence in the domestic U.S. craft beer 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 U.S.,” said Lion CEO Stuart Irvine.
“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: “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.”
“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.”
Lion Little World Beverages is committed to protecting and nurturing New Belgium’s unique identity, culture and brand as a leader in craft beer. New Belgium Brewing headquarters will remain in Fort Collins, Colorado and Steve Fechheimer will continue as Chief Executive Officer with the management team remaining in place. Kim Jordan will also play a key advisory role in collaborating alongside other leading founders within the Lion Little World Beverages network ensuring the core tenets of craft beverages are aligned with the strategic vision for Lion Little World Beverages in the U.S. and around the world.
About Lion and Lion Little World Beverages
Lion Little World Beverages is the global craft beverages business of Lion - a leading brewer headquartered in Australia owned by Kirin Holdings Company Limited. With nearly 4,000 people employed across Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Asia and the U.S. Lion is a leader in craft brewing. Its portfolio includes many well-known brands such as James Squire, Little Creatures, Emerson’s, and Panhead.
Lion Little World Beverages was first established as ‘Lion Global Markets’ in 2015 and entrusted with leading Kirin’s global craft beer strategy in new market expansion outside Japan, Australia and New Zealand. It has since evolved, launching pioneering Australian craft brand Little Creatures in the US, UK and Asia between 2017 and 2019, and recently adding UK craft brands Fourpure and Magic Rock to the family.
The Lion Little World Beverages team blends Lion’s 170 years of history with Kirin’s commitment to quality, craftsmanship and R&D expertise to create a collective of like-minded entrepreneurs who are empowered to keep doing what they do best, while benefitting from being part of a larger, scaled business. A common cultural thread binds Lion Little World Beverages brands and people together, with a commitment to craftsmanship, community and sustainability at the core.
About New Belgium Brewing
New Belgium Brewing is a nationally distributed brewery recognized as a leader in sustainability and social responsibility. Founded in 1991 in Fort Collins, Colorado, the company expanded to Asheville, North Carolina, in 2016 and Denver, Colorado, in 2018, and is now the fourth largest craft brewery in the U.S. Dedicated to proving that business can be a force for good, New Belgium is a Certified B-Corp and was the first brewery to join 1% for the Planet. The brewery has donated over $26 million to charitable causes since 1991.
New Belgium is famous for its flagship beer, Fat Tire Amber Ale, along with year-round favorites like Voodoo Ranger IPA, Mural Agua Fresca Cerveza, and La Folie Sour Brown Ale; as well as an award-winning wood-aged sour program and innovative limited release beers. To learn more about the full product line-up and New Belgium’s Human powered Business model, visit NewBelgium.com.
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