Kirin-owned multinational brewery Lion has followed up last year’s purchase of London’s Fourpure Brewery with the acquisition overnight of Yorkshire’s Magic Rock Brewing Company.
The move continues Lion’s UK expansion with the brewer set to open a taproom based around its New Zealand Panhead brand shortly. It has major expansion plans for its Little Creatures brand, which already has a brewpub presence in both Singapore and Hong Kong and a bar in San Francisco.
More to come.
Lion acquires leading UK craft brewer, Magic Rock Brewing
Leading Australian and New Zealand brewer, Lion, has acquired 100% of leading UK craft brewer, Magic Rock Brewing Company.
Magic Rock is a leading craft brewer based in Huddersfield, Yorkshire. It employs 45 people locally with plans to expand the team further in line with its continued growth strategy. With its distinctive range of high quality beers currently enjoyed across the UK, Magic Rock’s focus is to continue to meet rising demand in the domestic market, building growth in pubs and supermarkets. Magic Rock also exports to more than 25 countries worldwide and – over time – it sees opportunities to further grow outside of the UK with the support of Lion. Co-founder and managing director Richard Burhouse will remain actively involved within the business going forward.
Magic Rock co-founder and managing director, Richard Burhouse, said: “With the support of the beer community, in eight years Magic Rock has become one of the UK’s leading craft brewers, distributing across the UK, as well as internationally. The best way for us to build on this legacy over the long term is to introduce Magic Rock beers to a much wider audience. We’re excited to be joining one of the world’s best brewing experts under the shared promise to keep making great beer, on a bigger scale, through their knowledge, expertise and investment.”
Lion Global Markets managing director, Matt Tapper, said: “Magic Rock has been one the pioneers in the UK craft beer scene and has built a loyal following due to its relentless pursuit of authenticity and quality. We’re excited to have the opportunity to help Richard and the team build on their success. Lion has a long and proud history in craft beer in Australia and New Zealand and we see some great opportunities to help put Magic Rock into the hands of more beer lovers.”
Founded by Richard Burhouse and head brewer Stuart Ross in 2011, within its first year of operations, Magic Rock was voted second best new brewery in the world (2012) in independent rating site RateBeer.com’s Top New Breweries awards. It has since been voted five times as a top 100 world brewer on RateBeer.com.
The modern UK craft market is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing globally in volume terms. It currently represents around a 6% share of UK beer volume and 5% share of global craft beer volume. Lion is already an active player in the UK and Europe, selling a range of Australian and New Zealand craft beers, such as Little Creatures and Panhead, plus New Zealand fine wines. It has a long history of investing in great beer businesses and providing them with the freedom to keep doing what they do best, while giving them the financial and strategic support to get their products into more people’s hands. Lion is committed to supporting Magic Rock to fuel its next phase of growth, investing to build its distinctive brand and enhance the Magic Rock hospitality experience.
Matt Tapper added: “Lion is continuing to take a patient, long-term approach to capital investment in international markets to meet the demand for diverse craft beer experiences. The UK continues to be one of the most exciting places in the world to experience craft – and given its cultural similarities to Australia and New Zealand, now is a great time to partner with Magic Rock to invest in building their premium brands and to expand Lion’s presence in that market.”
Lion has a growing portfolio in the UK; acting as the custodian for London craft brewery Fourpure Brewing Co since July 2018. For some time now, Lion has played a pivotal role in the craft beer market in Australasia. Chuck Hahn started James Squire with Lion’s support and Lion was a shareholder in Little Creatures very early in its journey to become one of Australia’s most famous craft brands. Lion’s craft brewers have also created some of Australia and New Zealand’s most loved craft beer brands, such as Furphy, James Squire and Kosciuszko.
ABOUT MAGIC ROCK
Inspired by local brewing traditions and the vibrant US craft beer scene, Richard Burhouse started Magic Rock Brewing in 2011 in an old out-building of the family business in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. Alongside a distinctive core range, they produce an ever-changing line up of idiosyncratic beers with an innovative quality driven approach. In 2015, the brewery moved to a new facility, featuring a 4,000 sq ft Tap Room and automated canning facility. In the intervening years production has tripled and currently stands at around 15,500hl pa (2.7million pints). Magic Rock beers are now enjoyed all over the UK and exported to more than 25 countries worldwide.
Lion is a leading beverage and food company with a portfolio that includes many of Australasia’s favourite brands in beer, wine and dairy. We employ more than 6,700 people across Australia and New Zealand predominantly and take great pride in our local manufacturing footprint, which spans 38 sites – including large breweries, craft breweries, wineries, dairy farms, milk, cheese, yoghurt and juice sites as well as venues.
Lion operates historic breweries, such as James Boag and XXXX Castlemaine Perkins, and is a leader in craft brewing, with brands such as James Squire and Malt Shovel, Little Creatures, Kosciuszko, and Furphy. Lion Australia is part of the Lion Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kirin Holdings. Kirin is a global, multi-industry food and beverages company headquartered in Tokyo.
Lion’s Global Markets (LGM) business was launched in 2015 to take Lion’s Australian and New Zealand craft beers and ciders into new international markets and accelerate the growth of its wine business in North America. LGM is a small, dedicated team operating in an entrepreneurial way with a lean, fast, and flexible operating model. With significant growth in craft beer forecast for the coming years, Lion has identified the UK as an opportunity to leverage its craft experience and brands from Australia and New Zealand to drive long term growth outside of its home markets.