Lion has snapped up trendy UK craft beer maker Magic Rock

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Australasian food and beverage giant Lion has added another craft beer brand to its portfolio after acquiring Magic Rock, an eight-year-old brewer from the British town of Huddersfield.

Magic Rock was started in 2011 by Richard Burhouse and has tripled its production from 2015 to 2019 as the popularity of craft beers has exploded around the world.

Lion’s global markets managing director Matt Tapper described Magic Rock as a “pioneer in the UK craft beer scene” that had “built a loyal following due to its relentless pursuit of authenticity and quality”.

The British craft beer market is one of world’s largest and fastest growing, with craft beers accounting for 6 per cent of total UK beer volumes and 5 per cent of global craft volumes, Lion said.

According to its most recent public filings, Magic Rock has £2 million ($3.7 million) of net assets.

The Magic Rock beer is available in 25 countries and its four-year-old facility produces the equivalent of 2.7 million pints a year.

Mr Burhouse said the acquisition would “introduce Magic Rock beers to a much wider audience” with the help of Lion, which has a division dedicated to taking local beers and ciders to international markets while growing its wine business in North America.

Lion, formerly known was Lion Nathan, has been wholly owned by Japanese brewing giant Kirin since 2009. The food and beverage company has operated established beer brands such as Tooheys, Hahn, XXXX and James Boag’s.

The company has been battling a slowdown in the mainstream beer market, although it has been making strong headway in craft beer with brands including James Squire, Little Creatures and Furphy.

Lion also recently bought into the gin brand, Four Pillars.

The acquisition of Magic Rock by Lion Nathan is not the only Australian connection to the town of Huddersfield. Socceroos midfielder Aaron Moy is one the star players of Huddersfield Town Football Club. Unfortunately this week the team was relegated from the English Premier League.

This article was originally published by the Australian Financial Review. Read the original here, or follow the AFR on on Facebook.

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