Just weeks after Beavertown announced that they’d sold partial stake in their brewery to Heineken comes word that Fourpure Brewing had been purchased by Australia’s Lion, a subsidiary of Japanese drinks giant Kirin.
Announcing the news in a blog post on its website, Fourpure explained its decision to sell to Lion in a surprisingly straightforward and almost unsentimental manner…Clearly co-founders Dan and Tom Lowe see what they do as business and their new alignment with Lion as advantageous to the company’s directives…
“You’re also probably expecting “business as usual”, “nothing will change”, “more of the same”. Whilst the beer and the culture and the people will be the same…we truly hope that you will see some change, otherwise why would we bother?
In February, Fourpure announced that they’d entered into an agreement with New York-based Crafted Exports, to launch its brand in the US and made £2.5 million investment in to its brewery on the ‘Bermondsey Beer Mile’ home to several London craft breweries like The Kernel.
In his blog post announcement CEO Dan Lowe explained that similar to Beavertown’s journey, the company had explored gaining funding from private equity, bank debt and crowdfunding before deciding to sell a 100% stake in Fourpure to Lion for an undisclosed sum.
Fourpure will join Lion’s current ‘crafty’ portfolio which includes Panhead Custom Ales and Emerson’s Brewery in New Zealand, plus Australia’s Little Creatures.
And Lowe added that there are “no current plans” to brew Lion beers at its Bermondsey brewery and that the company’s focus will be on fulfilling growing demand for its beers…
“This really was an easy decision in the end. Not only are the people at Lion terribly nice and incredibly positive, they share our vision and believe in us to carry it out. Not to mention a fantastic track record with the likes of Little Creatures.’
“Lion are four people in the UK – they do not have a string of pubs to roll our beer out into, we will still have to win over every new line through the quality of our product.”
“They see Fourpure and our beer as a primary focus here in the UK and as their sole production brewing facility we will benefit from all the time, expertise and investment required to succeed, and that means that everything around the brewery will be a little bit easier and a little bit better”.
In addition to Australia’s Lion, Kirin Holdings also has a 55% stake in Myanmar Brewery Ltd, jointly owns San Miguel Brewery and has a 24.5% stake in Brooklyn Brewery according to the Drinks Business.
Flush with new capital Fourpure will not only continue to expand its presence in the UK, but will also focus on Europe and Singapore where it will benefit from Lion’s ‘gateway city strategy’. And going forward the two brewers will explore how both of their combined sales and distribution channels can be used to reach more drinkers in other global markets.
Fourpure, which represents around 5% of the volume share of the UK craft beer market, now joins fellow London breweries Meantime Brewing, Camden Town, London Fields, Brixton and most recently Beavertown, who have been either partially or entirely acquired by Big Beer entities over the last couple of years.
But as the UK craft beer biz couldn’t be hotter…we promise you they won’t be the last.
All image credits: Fourpure / Lion