Friday 27 May 2016 – Lion New Zealand and Panhead Custom Ales are pleased to advise that we have reached agreement for Lion to acquire the assets of Panhead’s craft beer business, effective 1 July 2016.
Panhead Custom Ales will continue as a standalone business unit within the Lion family, producing the same great beers from the same Upper Hutt brewery, under the direction of brewery founder Mike Neilson.
Mike says, “The chance to have Panhead’s future supercharged by a merger with the big boys was too good to pass up. Lion’s backing will help Panhead grow to a point where anyone, anywhere in the country will be able to experience our beer.”
Rory Glass, Lion New Zealand’s Managing Director, says, “Panhead is a phenomenally successful brewery, with a fantastic range of award-winning beers, and some big growth aspirations. We have no interest in changing its winning formula. Lion’s investment in Panhead will free Mike and the Panhead team to do what they do best: brew great beer.”
Mike Neilson will continue as Head Brewer, and together with General Manager Josh Drake, will be responsible for the day-to-day running of what’s going to be a very productive brewhouse. All other roles within the Panhead business will remain unchanged
Panhead is one of the most successful craft breweries in New Zealand, and has won numerous brewing awards, including Society of Brewing Advocates’ Beer of the year 2014 and 2015.
For more on Panhead’s announcement of the deal, see www.facebook.com/panheadcustomales
For further information contact:
Genevieve O’Halloran 0274 063 467
Notes to Editor:
Wellington was New Zealand’s craft beer capital before anyone even noticed. In the last five years, the capital’s heartening commitment to beer has been matched by a handful of Wellingtonians who actually brew the stuff. And of all the breweries to spring up in the city recently, perhaps the most spectacular growth has come from Panhead Custom Ales.
Panhead embodies the eclectic, hop-forward philosophy of founder and Head Brewer Mike Neilson. Like most kiwis, Mike’s beer awakening occurred during his OE and he returned to New Zealand determined to master the art of brewing. Master it he did, with SOBA awarding him a swag of medals at the national home brewing smackdown.
This success led to him sharpening his skills in a commercial craft brewery before deciding to strike out on his own in 2013. He and wife Anna put the house on the line and set up a brewery in the old Dunlop tyre factory in Maidstone, Upper Hutt. Mike’s dad, Danny, a former 23 year employee of the very same factory, lent his Swiss-army-knife engineering skills to the operation.
Panhead comes from the slang name for a legendary motor bike engine of the 1950s and is a nod to Mike and Danny’s passion for petrol. Both are enthusiastic hot rodders and revel in the creative repurposing of old American iron. The four beers that launched Panhead Custom Ales – Supercharger APA, Port Road Pilsener, Quickchange XPA and Blacktop Oats Stout – are still made today. They show how thoroughly Mike has had his finger on the pulse of kiwi beer hounds. All have been gonged at various industry bunfights, with Supercharger APA in particular put on a pedestal by hopheads ever since.
About Lion: In 1840, the Hobson Bridge Brewery was established by Auckland founding fathers John Logan Campbell and William Brown. It later merged with the Albert Brewery, in Auckland’s Elliot Street, to form Campbell and Ehrenfried, led by Arthur Myers. From these modest beginnings, an empire grew, combining over a dozen breweries throughout New Zealand. In 1965, Arthur Myers’ grandson, Douglas Myers, joined the company. Shortly afterwards, the company adopted the name Lion Breweries. Lion was born.
Today, Lion NZ is New Zealand’s leading beverage company. It’s also its largest brewer, with a portfolio comprising New Zealand’s favourite beers, including Speight’s, Steinlager, Mac’s, Emerson’s, Stella Artois and Corona. Complementing The Pride, its flagship brewery in South Auckland, are its two Dunedin-based breweries: the historic Speight’s, and iconic craft brewers Emerson’s.
Lion makes a significant contribution to New Zealand’s economy, generating over $800million worth of economic activity for the country, and employing over 1,000 people directly. Indirectly, Lion’s operations create employment for close to 3,500 New Zealanders.
As New Zealand’s largest alcoholic beverages company, Lion acknowledges its responsibility to preserve the natural resources for current and future generations, and encourages responsible enjoyment of all of its products. www.lionco.com