The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Epic Beer saved by two Kiwi businesses

Struggling brewery Epic Beer has announced The Russell Group and Hancocks Group have partnered to purchase the business and move it forward into the next phase.

Speaking with The Feed, a spokesperson from Hancocks said they wanted to take the opportunity to help continue Epic’s pioneering legacy.

“While it’s early days yet, we wouldn’t have stepped up to the table if there wasn’t the opportunity that [Epic founders] Luke and Wendy [Nicholas] could be involved,” Jedda Jakicevich told Tash McGill.

The other party in the deal is the Russell Group, one of New Zealand’s largest construction companies which owns Dominion Constructors, Acrow Ltd, Russell Property Group, Stresscrete and Russell Gordon Contracting.

Russell Group Director Brett Russell, who has previously appeared on the NBR rich list, says as a family-owned business, they too understand the pressures at a low point in the cycle.

“[We] didn’t want this iconic, almost two-decade ‘game changer’ brand, developed by a family-owned business, to disappear,” he says.

“We’ve bought it to strengthen what is already a great brand into the future.”

Epic, which launched into the Kiwi craft beer market in 2005, went into liquidation in July 2023 following financial and investor issues.

The new deal allows Epic founder Luke Nicholas to stay on at the brand and the continued operation of the Onehunga taproom.

“I am extremely grateful for all the support and kindness shown by so many people,” Nicholas said on Epic’s Facebook page.

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