The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Lion in multi-million-dollar deal with Panhead

International liquor giant Lion Group is set to pay as much as $25.1 million for the Panhead Custom Ales craft beer brand.

According to the NZ Herald, documents filed with the Companies Office show that Lion, owned by Japanese company Kirin Holdings, paid $15.1 million upfront to Brand Strong, Panhead’s holding company, and will pay a further $10 million based on earnings over the next four years.

Panhead Custom Ales owner and brewer Mike Neilson sold his craft brewery to Lion last May with the brewer saying that demand for the beer was so high, a decision had to be made for future growth of the brand.

Panhead joined Emerson’s Brewing Co in Lion Group’s craft portfolio, Emerson’s was sold for $8 million in 2012.

Last year The Lion Group delivered operating earnings before interest and tax of $694.3m, consistent with the prior earnings of $694.6m. Operating net profit after tax rose $11.7m to $280.1m in the current year.

Lion CEO Stuart Irvine said that despite low consumer confidence the group will increase its focus on its core Lion and Kirin brands and that the craft beer market remains a key focus for the brewer.

“Lion’s solid performance in what is a highly competitive global and domestic marketplace highlights the underlying strength of our core business and reflects our ongoing investment in brands and innovation,” said Irvine.

“The high-value craft beer segment remains a key focus and success for Lion, both here and abroad… the acquisitions we have made this year in both Australian and New Zealand will only increase this momentum,” he said.