Lion has announced the next stage in its strategy to grow burgeoning brands, with the acquisition of boutique brewery Byron Bay Brewing Co.
It is almost a year to the day since Carlton & United Breweries announced it was cutting ties with the NSW North Coast brewery. This came roughly a year after the ACCC slapped a $20,400 fine on CUB for labelling that blurred the lines on production of Byron Bay Pale Lager, implying the popular SKU was still made in Bryon’s small operation.
While CUB cited at the time an amicable split and plans to instead focus on the brands that it owns outright, Byron Bay Brewing Co (BBBC) founder Barry [Schadel had plans for his in-demand brand, and went to Lion about expansion and collaboration.
“When we were approached by Byron Bay Brewing Co. we saw an opportunity to invest in a great local brewery, hospitality operation and craft beer portfolio, with a view to building the business locally and, possibly, in time, sharing these great beers with more people across the country,” said Lion craft marketing director, Gordon Treanor.
“We recognise that the craft beer segment benefits from giving entrepreneurial people the chance to be creative and experimental, and this is how we manage our current craft portfolio. We are looking forward to welcoming Byron Bay Brewing Co. into the fold and working with the team to keep brewing award-winning beers.”
Neal Cameron, Institute of Beer director and brew-master at Australian Brewery, told PubTIC the acquisition is a good thing for the brand and the consumer.
“If anyone can be trusted with a great brand like Byron, it would be lion,” relayed Cameron.
“They have a good track record, and the team at Byron, led by a terrific brewer, Alistair Gillespie, produce some great beer. It will be lovely to see it on a broader scale.”
BBBC will join the likes of Little Creatures, James Squire, White Rabbit, Kosciusko and Knappstein, which have all benefited under the Lion umbrella.
The big brewer also intends to further develop BBBC’s hospitality operations, which see over 2,000 patrons each week.