Lion expands boutique footprint with Emerson's acquisition

Lion, the Australasian brewer owned by Japanese beverages giant Kirin, has expanded its footprint in boutique ales by buying Dunedin-based Emerson's Brewing Co for an undisclosed sum.

The 20-year-old Emerson's brewery will operate as a standalone unit within Lion and retain its existing Dunedin brewery, the company says in a statement. Emerson's can produce up to one million litres per year, its website says.

Emerson's "complements Lion's existing beer portfolio well and allows us to offer our customers an enhanced proposition with a leading portfolio of brands across the specialty, boutique and popular craft market", Lion NZ managing director Rory Glass says.

The purchase comes just four months after Lion bought out the 64% of Australian boutique brewer Little World Beverages in a $A256 million deal that saw the Fremantle-based company delisted from the ASX.

The Emerson's range of beer joins Lion's local line-up of brands including Speight's, Lion, Steinlager and Mac's.

Emerson's founder Richard Emerson, general manager Bob King and brewing manager Chris O'Leary will run the brewery's operation and all other roles will remain unchanged, Lion says.

Lion's operating income fell 7.5% to $A440 million in the three months ended September 30, with a 4.8% decline in sales to $A1.73 billion on falling revenue from its soft drink businesses.

The acquisition comes ahead of the local listing of boutique brewer Moa Group, which last week topped out its $16 million target from its initial public offering.

Moa needs the money to build a new $6.1 million brewing facility and cover the $1.6 million cost of the float as it looks to break into the $US8.7 billion craft beer market in the United States and grab 0.02% of the market share.

(BusinessDesk)

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9 Comments & Questions

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thats what they said about Mac. now look at that brew just another lion label!!

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Hope Lion can bring it to Australia. Absolutely love Emerson's!!

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It's good that Richard and his team will continue to run the brewery, but I wonder how long it will be before they are required to meet some profit or production targets which will prevent them from putting in the processes which make it a boutique brewery?

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What a joke ! Lion will ruin the brand - already the trade are delisting Emersons because who wants to be dominated by Lion and the Japanese.Well done to Richard Emerson -i hope he made Lion pay plenty.

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Sh!te. I hope it doesn't just become another Lion brand. Emersons make great beer.

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Dame it. Dunedin needs businesses like this but the big boys need to buy out the competition. Very surprised Richard sold but money is money at the end of the day.I hope he made plenty..Wont be long and the brew will be made in AKL like everything else. Bugger Lion/ Wheres Mac made now?

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Time to change to the next local brewer, Mata from Kawerau is an awesome drop.

Every time you purchase a product you cast a vote - make it count. Tell these brand destroying multinationals where to go.

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Ugh. I like Emersons and respect the brewer, but the new owner will have to work hard to gain a similar level of respect and loyalty from the consumer.

I hope he hasn't had to sign up to any foolish long term restrictions.

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That little Moa IPO is not looking as silly as some people think...with the sugar-water brews losing share by the month craft acquisition is all part of the plan.

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