US craft beer maker New Belgium Brewing has agreed to sell 100% of the company to Lion‘s craft beverages division, Lion Little World Beverages.
Founded in 1991, New Belgium makes brands such as Fat Tire Amber Ale and Voodoo Ranger IPA and has brewing facilities in Fort Collins, Colorado, and Asheville, North Carolina.
According to trade group the Brewers Association, New Belgium is the fourth largest craft brewery in the US.
Lion and parent company Kirin have a strong craft beer portfolio outside the US but until now have had a limited presence in the domestic US 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,” said Lion CEO Stuart Irvine.
“We’re confident that our shared values and commitment to purpose and culture will provide the foundation for a great partnership in the US.
“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.”
Lion said it is committed to protecting and nurturing New Belgium’s identity, culture and brand. Its headquarters will remain in Fort Collins and Steve Fechheimer will continue as CEO with the management team remaining in place.
New Belgium co-founder Kim Jordan will also play a key advisory role in collaborating alongside other founders within Lion Little World Beverages.
“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,” said Jordan.
“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.”
It is expected the transaction will close by the end of the year.
Lion Little World Beverages was first established as Lion Global Markets in 2015 and leads Kirin’s global craft beer strategy in new market expansion outside Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
It has since evolved, launching 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 news comes a week after Anheuser-Busch announced it will acquire the remaining 68.8% stake in Craft Brew Alliance that it does not own.
Earlier this year, Samuel Adams beer maker Boston Beer Company and Delaware-based Dogfish Head Brewery agreed to merge in a deal worth $300m.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019