But the brewer said continuing premiumisation and a strong performance from its craft beer portfolio softened the revenue impact.
“James Squire 150 Lashes, Little Creatures Pale Ale and James Squire Hop Thief all posted double digit growth,” Lion said.
“At the same time, Lion continued to invest for future growth, acquiring Byron Bay Brewing Co. in April 2016, with plans well underway to refurbish the brand’s hospitality venue on the north coast of NSW.”
In New Zealand, total volume in Lion’s Beer, Spirits & Wine business increased 2.5 per cent, with revenue increasing by 5.7 per cent.
Lion said this result was driven “by innovation in beer and wine and increased consumer demand for higher value premium products”.
“The tap beer market decline has eased and Lion’s volume share grew with the on-premise beer portfolio performing ahead of the market,” the brewer said.
“The pack beer market was broadly flat to last year during the half. However, there were standout performances in volume growth with Speights Mid Ale growing at over 120 per cent year on year, Emerson’s growing close to 50 per cent, Macs 27 per cent and Corona over 20 per cent.”