Lion Little World Beverages, a wholly-owned Australasian subsidiary of Japanese brewer Kirin, has announced the acquisition of New Belgium Brewing of Ft. Collins, CO. The purchase of NBB, which produced 845,000 bbls in 2018, is the largest ever craft acquisition by volume in the US. In just one week, over 1.5 million barrels of craft production has shifted hands after the sale last week of Craft Brew Alliance to Anhesuer-Busch.
Kirin made its first foray into the US market in 2016 when it purchased a minority stake of Brooklyn Brewery, which has since partnered with 21st Amendment and Funkwerks.
It was reported by numerous industry media sources today that NBB founder Kim Jordan will stay on as an adviser. The brewery is currently employee-owned under an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).
The purchase means that NBB, one of the ‘founding fathers’ of the craft movement will no longer be defined as “craft” by the Brewers Association and will have to shed its “seal of Independence.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.