Lion (Australasian company)

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Industry Food and Beverage/alcohol
Founded 1923 New Zealand Breweries
1977 Lion Breweries
1988 Lion Nathan
2009 Lion Nathan National Foods
Headquarters Sydney, Australia
Key people
Chairman, Sir Rod Eddington AO;
CEO, Stuart Irvine
Products Beer, wine, RTDs and spirits
Owner Mitsubishi keiretsu (through Kirin Holdings)
Number of employees
Around 7000

Lion is a beverage and food company that operates in Australia and New Zealand and produces and markets a range of beer, wine, cider, RTDs, spirits, plain and flavoured milks, yogurts, cheese, juice and soy products. Lion was formed in October 2009 under the name ‘Lion Nathan National Foods’, when Kirin Holdings Company Limited purchased brewer Lion Nathan[1] and merged the business with National Foods which it owned since 2007. In 2011, it changed its name to Lion. The company employs over 7000 people.

The company was formed in 1988 with the merger of LD Nathan & Co and Lion Breweries,[2] and was listed on both the Australian and New Zealand Stock Exchanges under the symbol LNN. On 17 September 2009, Lion Nathan shareholders overwhelmingly voted to accept a 100% takeover offer by Kirin.[3][4][5] The takeover was implemented on 21 October 2009, and the company was delisted.[6]


The original forerunner of the company was Brown Campbell & Co, the company of Logan Campbell and William Brown who established the Hobson Bridge Brewery in Auckland in 1840. By 1897 it was the largest brewery in the North Island if not the country. In May 1897 Brown Campbell & Co amalgamated with Louis Ehrenfried's Albert Brewery, which he had bought in 1878, to form Campbell and Ehrenfried.[7] The new company was managed by Arthur Myers, Ehrenfried's nephew. In 1914 Campbell and Ehrenfried merged with the Great Northern Brewery, which owned the Lion brand. In 1923 ten breweries amalgamated to form New Zealand Breweries. Campbell and Ehrenfried merged its breweries into New Zealand Breweries but remained a separate company. Douglas Myers, grandson of Arthur Myers, became CEO of Campbell and Ehrenfried in 1965.[2][8]

The northern division of New Zealand Breweries adopted the name Lion Breweries in 1977. Campbell and Ehrenfried bought 19.9 per cent of Lion Breweries in 1981. By the late 1980s, New Zealand Breweries had developed into one of New Zealand's largest companies. In 1988 Lion Breweries took over LD Nathan & Co, New Zealand's largest retailer, which at the time owned Woolworths NZ, to form Lion Nathan. The same year, Woolworths' general merchandise division was rebranded DEKA, with ownership transferred to the Farmers Trading Company in 1992. In 1990 it became an Australasian business when it established a major presence in Australia by securing management control of Bond Corporation’s brewing assets, including the Tooheys Brewery in Sydney and Castlemaine Perkins in Brisbane. In 1998 Douglas Myers sold most of his 16 percent share in Lion Nathan to Kirin Brewery Company of Japan.[2][8]

In 2005, Lion Nathan made a takeover bid for the independent South Australian Coopers Brewery. The takeover was strongly opposed by Coopers' management, and was rejected at an Extraordinary General Meeting when 93.4% of the shareholders voted in favour of permanently removing the "3rd tier purchasing rights" of Lion Nathan, effectively preventing any current or future takeover bid.

By 2009, the company was 46% owned by Kirin with the difference made up by Australian and New Zealand share funds.[9] In September 2009, shareholders voted in favour of a complete takeover by Kirin Holdings.[3][4][5][6][10]

In June 2013, the company launched the Tap King draught beer product that is sold with a CO2 gas chamber so that consumers can drink draught beer at home. Lionel Richie appeared in a television commercial to promote the device and reportedly received A$$1.5 million to appear in the promotional campaign.[11] The introduction of the Tap King caused controversy, due to the perceived impact upon alcohol venues. Concerns were raised in regard to lower patronage rates for venues due to a greater incentive for consumers to drink beer in home environments.[12]


The company owns a number of breweries and contract bottling plants in Australia and New Zealand.[13]

Breweries in Australia include
Breweries in New Zealand include

South Island:

North Island:

  • 'The Pride' South Auckland - Lion

Castlemaine Perkins Brewery

Located in Brisbane. Castlemaine's signature beer, XXXX Bitter, was introduced in 1924. The XXXX had been used for a sparkling ale since 1878.

South Australian Brewing Company

The South Australian Brewing Company was founded in 1859. There were two breweries, one in the West End of the Adelaide city centre (producing "West End" beers), and the other at Thebarton on the banks of the River Torrens north-west of the city centre (producing "Southwark" beers - pronounced Su-thik). The West End brewery was closed between the wars, and the operations consolidated with the Southwark brewery operations at the Thebarton site.

According to legend, the black and red colours of the SA Brewing Company came about after the West Adelaide Football Club (whose colours are black and red) defeated Port Adelaide in the 1909 South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Australian rules football Grand Final. The legend states that, had West Adelaide not won the match, the brewery's colours would have become the black and white of Port Adelaide.[citation needed]

West End Draught remains the largest selling beer in South Australia. West End Draught is a currently a 4.5% abv pale lager, first brewed in 1859.[15] The brand is actively involved with the SANFL, was the original sponsor of the "Showdown" in the Australian Football League and is one of the sponsors of the "Slowdown" charity football match. The tradition of painting the Thebarton brewery chimney with the team colours of the SANFL premiership finalists began in 1954.[16]

Other beers brewed under the West End brand are West End Export, West End Gold and West End Light.

Prior to the acquisition of the brewing assets by Lion Nathan in 1993, SA Brewing split its brewing assets into "SA Brewing Holdings", and its diversified operations were formed into a new listed company named Southcorp. One of Southcorp's major assets was "Southcorp Wines", (acquired from the Adelaide Steamship Company in 1990), and subsequently acquired by Lion main Australian rival, the Foster's Group.

Australian beer brands


Castlemaine XXXX


James Squire

File:James Squire logo.jpg
James Squire logo

James Squire is produced by the Malt Shovel Brewery in Sydney. The beer is named after the convict brewer James Squire, who is claimed to have created Australia's first commercial brewery.

The brewery has won various awards including: Champion Australasian Brewery, 2000 and 2003 (Australian International Beer Awards),[17] and Best Bohemian-Style Pilsener, 2008 (World Beer Cup).[18]

Regular Brews
As of September 2011, the Malt Shovel Brewery produces seven main brews under the James Squire brand:

  • Nine Tales Amber Ale is a handcrafted English-style Brown Ale, consisting of a blend of Pale and Crystal malts, three distinct hops, and a 140-year-old top fermenting ale yeast. Alcohol content: 5.0%
  • The Chancer Golden Ale is an English-style Summer Ale, created with toasted grains of wheat and barley, combined with new season Amarillo hops. Alcohol content: 4.5%
  • Four 'Wives' Pilsener is brewed using Pale and Munich malts, Saaz hops and lager yeast. James Squire Pilsener is the company's most awarded beer. Alcohol content: 5.0%
  • Stowaway India Pale Ale (I.P.A.) has robust malty flavours and earthy floral aromas from dry hopping with English Fuggles. Alcohol content: 5.6%
  • Jack of Spades Porter is a dark beer consisting of five different malts combined with roasted barley and wheat. Porter has a longer maturation than the other James Squire brews. Alcohol content: 5.0%
  • Sundown Lager is an Australian-style Lager, made with 100% malt and a blend of local and English hop varieties.
  • One Fifty Lashes Pale Ale is an Australian-style Pale Ale, consisting of a blend of wheat and pale barley malt, with a late addition of Nelson Sauvin & Amarillo and Willamette hops. Alcohol content: 4.2%
  • The Constable Copper Ale is an traditional English Copper Ale, made with Galaxy and Topaz hops. At 3.4% alcohol per volume, the Constable is true to its inspiration and a classic thirst-quencher.

Speciality Brews
Occasionally, the brewery creates seasonal speciality brews which are typically sold as limited-release products, produced in much smaller quantities than the regular brews. Past seasonal beers include :

  • Hop Thief Ale
  • Australian Strong Ale
  • Rum Rebellion Porter
  • Pepperberry Winter Ale
  • Malt Runner

J. Boag & Son

Beers no longer in production

  • Boag's 1881
  • Boag's Strongarm
  • Boag's St George

West End


Swan Brewery

Emu Brewery

Other brands

  • Knappstein Reserve Lager (Clare Valley, South Australia)
  • Gulf Lager
  • New Norcia Abbey Ale (Brewed under licence by Malt Shovel, NSW)

New Zealand beer brands


  • Speight's[22] Gold Medal Ale
  • Speight's Old Dark
  • Speight's Pale Ale
  • Speight's Distinction Ale
  • Speight's Porter
  • Speight's Pilsener
  • Speight's Summit Lager
  • Speight's Traverse Lager

Despite their descriptions, all Speight's beers are lagers.



  • Steinlager[24]
  • Steinlager Premium Light
  • Steinlager Edge
  • Steinlager Pure
  • Steinlager Super Cold

Mac’s Craft Beers (McCashins Brewery)

Mac's Brewery Spring Tide beer bottle
  • Mac's Gold: a lager
  • Mac's Black: a dark lager
  • Mac's Hoprocker: a golden pilsener lager
  • Mac's Great White: a witbier (wheat based pale lager)
  • Mac's Sassy Red: an aromatic slightly bitter lager
  • Mac's Spring Tide: a low-carbohydrate lager made with organic ingredients

Limited and seasonal release beers:

  • Brewjolais
  • Top Notch
  • Sundance
  • Log burner
  • Fortunate Sun
  • Hay Day

Mac's also produce home brewing kits to make:

  • Mac's Württemberg Wheat
  • Mac's Saaz Pale Ale
  • Mac's Oatmeal Stout
  • Mac's Late Hopped Lager
  • Mac's Triple Malt Dark

Canterbury Draught

Canterbury Draught is a 4% abv pale lager. When it was first brewed in 1854 it was called Ward's Beer after the brewer James Hamilton Ward. It was rebranded as Canterbury Draught in 1990, but the Ward's Beer name has been retained on the label.

The Canterbury Draught brand is associated with the Canterbury Cricket Association and the Canterbury Cup horse race through advertising sponsorship by Lion.[25]

Emerson's Brewery

Other brands

  • Waikato Draught
  • Light Ice
  • Castlemaine
  • Black Ice
  • Rheineck
  • Tasman Bitter
  • Castlepoint
  • Greenstone Lager
  • Gluoco Light
  • Southern Draught
  • Rheineck
  • Leopard Lager

International brands

Brewed under licence

Imported under licence


In 2001 the Lion Nathan Wine group[31] purchased a controlling interest in Australian wine companies Petaluma and Banksia, adding New Zealand wine company Wither Hills in 2002.

The company also has distribution arrangements with some wine brands through Fine Wine Partners in Australia and Distinguished Beverages in New Zealand.

Lion-owned wine brands include:[32]


Milk products

Lion has the following brands under its Dairy & Drinks division:

Milk and dairy products
Iced coffee and flavoured milk
Other brands
  • Divine Classic Crème Caramel
  • Frûche (fromage frais)
  • Vitasoy (under licence)
  • Yogo (dessert yoghurt)

Capitol Chilled Foods

Lion also has a controlling interest in Capitol Chilled Foods (Australia) Pty Ltd, which is the Australian Capital Territory's sole dairy manufacturer. Bega Cheese Ltd owns a 25% stake. The company has the following brands:[46]

Non-alcoholic beverages and water ices

Lion has the following brands under its Dairy & Drinks division:

Soft drinks and bottled water
Water Ice

See also


  1. Moore, Ali (5 November 2009). "Beer sales boost Lion Nathan profit". Lateline. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 20 November 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Our history". Lion Nathan. Retrieved 3 May 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Lion Nathan shareholders approve Kirin takeover, The Australian, 17 September 2009. Retrieved on 2009-09-17.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Lion Nathan shareholders approve $3 bln takeover by Kirin,, 17 September 2009. Retrieved on 2009-09-17.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Shareholders bid sayonara to Lion Nathan, Sydney Morning Herald, 17 September 2009. Retrieved on 2009-09-17.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Lion Nathan shareholders approve takeover". Television New Zealand. 17 September 2009. Retrieved 14 October 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. The Campbell and Ehrenfried Company Limited The Cyclopedia of New Zealand (Auckland Provincial District), published 1902
  8. 8.0 8.1 Gaynor, Brian (2 May 2009). "Cheers, say Lion's minority shareholders". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 3 May 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Lion Nathan Annual Report 2006, Lion Nathan website, retrieved 2008-10-10.
  10. Beer acquisition creates Australia's biggest supermarket supplier, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 17 September 2009. Retrieved on 2009-09-17.
  11. Eamonn Duff (27 June 2013). "Lionel Richie's cash splash in beer commercial". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 10 October 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Matt Shea (9 October 2013). "Tap King: Beer of the Future or Frothy Fail?". The Vine. Digital Media. Retrieved 10 October 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Locations and Contacts, Lion Nathan website, retrieved 2008-10-10.
  14. Speights,
  15. West End Draught, Lion Nathan website, retrieved 2008-10-10.
  16. Chimney Ceremony, West End Draught brand information, retrieved 2008-10-10.
  17. Grand Champion Beer Trophy 2003, Australian International Beer Awards website, retrieved 2008-12-04.
  18. 2008 Brewers Association World Beer Cup Winners, World Beer Cup event website, retrieved 2008-12-04.
  19. West End Export,
  20. West End Gold,
  21. West End Light,
  22. Speight's web site
  23. Lion Red web site
  24. Steinlager web site
  25. Canterbury Draught, Lion Nathan Website, retrieved 2008-10-10.
  26. "Bier Facts",
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 27.4 The Lion's share keeps growing
  28. Lion snatches Stella Artois...
  29. Lion gets Stella from Foster's cellar
  30. Blair Speedy (10 March 2012). "Lion snares Corona contract from Foster's". The Australian. Retrieved 10 March 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  31. Lion Nathan Wine,
  32. Maps of Lion Nathan Winery locations,
  33. Argyle (Portland, Oregon, USA)
  34. Banksia (Barossa Valley, SA; McLaren Vale, SA; Adelaide Hills, SA)
  35. Bridgewater Mill (Adelaide Hills, SA)
  36. Croser (Piccadilly Valley, SA)
  37. Knappstein (Clare Valley, SA)
  38. Mitchelton (Nagambie, Vic)
  39. Petaluma (Clare Valley, SA; Piccadilly Valley, SA; Mount Barker, SA; Coonawarra, SA)
  40. Preece (Nagambie, Vic)
  41. Smithbrook (Pemberton, WA)
  42. St Hallett (Tanunda, Barossa Valley, SA)
  43. Stonier (Mornington Peninsula, Vic)
  44. Tatachilla (McLaren Vale, SA)
  45. Wither Hills (Marlborough, NZ)
  46. Other Products Capitol Chilled Foods

External links