Lion (Australasian company)

Wayback Machine Castlemaine Perkins Tooheys Brewery

IndustryFood and beverage
Founded1923; 97 years ago (1923) New Zealand Breweries
1977; 43 years ago (1977) Lion Breweries
1988; 32 years ago (1988) Lion Nathan
2009; 11 years ago (2009) Lion Nathan National Foods
HeadquartersSydney, New South Wales, Australia
Key people
Chairman, Sir Rod Eddington AO;
CEO, Stuart Irvine
ProductsBeer, wine, dairy/juices, RTDs and spirits
RevenueDecreaseA$5.6 billion (2015)
OwnerMitsubishi keiretsu (through Kirin Holdings)
Number of employees
Around 7000
SubsidiariesLion Dairy & Drinks

Lion is a beverage and food company that operates in Australia and New Zealand, and a subsidiary of Japanese beverage giant Kirin. It produces and markets a range of beer, wine, cider, RTDs and spirits, as well as dairy and other beverages (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, the company changed its name to Lion, with National Foods becoming a Melbourne-based subsidiary called Lion Dairy & Drinks. The company employs over 7000 people.[2]


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.[3] 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.[4][5]

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, listed on both the Australian and New Zealand stock exchanges under the symbol LNN. 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.[4][5]

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.[6] In September 2009, shareholders voted in favour of a complete takeover by Kirin Holdings.[7][8][9][10][11]

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.[12] 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.[13]


The company owns a number of breweries and contract bottling plants in Australia and New Zealand.[14]

Breweries in Australia include
Breweries in New Zealand include

South Island:

North Island:

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.[citation needed]

South Australian Brewing Company

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. Beers brewed under the West End brand are "Southwark", West End Export, West End Gold and West End Light. West End Draught is a currently a 4.5% abv pale lager, first brewed in 1859,[17] and remains the largest selling beer in South Australia.

Australian beer brands

J. Boag & Son

Beers no longer in production

Castlemaine XXXX

Emu Brewery


James Squire

James Squire is produced by the Malt Shovel Brewery in Sydney and now that its volume is larger than what can be produced at that brewery, some of the James Squires beers are produced at various locations around Australia under the guidance of the head brewer at the Malt Shovel Brewery. The beer is named after the convict brewer James Squire, who grew Australia's first hops and created Australia's first commercial brewery.

The brewery has won various awards including: Champion Australasian Brewery, 2000 and 2003 (Australian International Beer Awards),[18] and Best Bohemian-Style Pilsener, 2008 (World Beer Cup).[19]

Regular Brews

As of September 2011, the Malt Shovel Brewery manages a range of brews under the James Squire brand:[20]


Orchard Crush Apple and Pear Ciders

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.[citation needed]

Little Creatures

White Rabbit



Swan Brewery


West End

Other brands

New Zealand beer brands


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



Mac’s Craft Beers[27][28]

Mac's Brewery Spring Tide beer bottle

Limited and seasonal release beers:

Mac's also produce home brewing kits to make:

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 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.[29]

Emerson's Brewery

Other brands

International brands

Brewed under licence

Imported under licence


In 2001 the Lion Nathan Wine group[35] 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:[36]


Milk products

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

Iced coffee and flavoured milk
Other brands

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:[51]

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.
  2. ^ Valentin@Kindred. "Lion Careers". Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  3. ^ The Campbell and Ehrenfried Company Limited The Cyclopedia of New Zealand (Auckland Provincial District), published 1902
  4. ^ a b "Our history". Lion Nathan. Archived from the original on 5 September 2008. Retrieved 3 May 2009.
  5. ^ a b Gaynor, Brian (2 May 2009). "Cheers, say Lion's minority shareholders". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 3 May 2009.
  6. ^ Lion Nathan Annual Report 2006, Lion Nathan website, retrieved 2008-10-10.
  7. ^ Lion Nathan shareholders approve Kirin takeover, The Australian, 17 September 2009. Retrieved on 2009-09-17.
  8. ^ Lion Nathan shareholders approve $3 bln takeover by Kirin,, 17 September 2009. Retrieved on 2009-09-17.
  9. ^ Shareholders bid sayonara to Lion Nathan, Sydney Morning Herald, 17 September 2009. Retrieved on 2009-09-17.
  10. ^ "Lion Nathan shareholders approve takeover". Television New Zealand. 17 September 2009. Archived from the original on 5 October 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
  11. ^ Beer acquisition creates Australia's biggest supermarket supplier, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 17 September 2009. Retrieved on 2009-09-17.
  12. ^ Eamonn Duff (27 June 2013). "Lionel Richie's cash splash in beer commercial". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  13. ^ Matt Shea (9 October 2013). "Tap King: Beer of the Future or Frothy Fail?". The Vine. Digital Media. Archived from the original on 9 October 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  14. ^ Locations and Contacts Archived 1 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Lion Nathan website, retrieved 2008-10-10.
  15. ^ Emerson's,
  16. ^ Speights,
  17. ^ West End Draught Archived 2 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Lion Nathan website, retrieved 2008-10-10.
  18. ^ Grand Champion Beer Trophy 2003 Archived 21 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Australian International Beer Awards website, retrieved 2008-12-04.
  19. ^ 2008 Brewers Association World Beer Cup Winners[permanent dead link], World Beer Cup event website, retrieved 2008-12-04.
  20. ^ "The James Squire Craft Beer Range". 25 September 2015. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  21. ^ West End Export Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine,
  22. ^ West End Gold Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine,
  23. ^ West End Light Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine,
  24. ^ Speight's web site
  25. ^ Lion Red web site Archived 24 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ "Age Gate – Steinlager – New Zealand Beers". Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  27. ^ "Mac's New Zealand – Craft Beer". Mac's New Zealand – Craft Beer. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  28. ^
  29. ^ Canterbury Draught Archived 29 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Lion Nathan Website, retrieved 2008-10-10.
  30. ^ "Bier Facts",
  31. ^ a b c d e Greenblat, Eli (3 August 2012). "The Lion's share keeps growing". Fairfax. The Age. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  32. ^ "Lion snatches Stella Artois..." Archived from the original on 1 February 2012. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
  33. ^ Lion gets Stella from Foster's cellar
  34. ^ Blair Speedy (10 March 2012). "Lion snares Corona contract from Foster's". The Australian. Retrieved 10 March 2012.
  35. ^ Lion Nathan Wine,
  36. ^ Maps of Lion Nathan Winery locations,
  37. ^ Argyle (Portland, Oregon, USA)
  38. ^ Banksia Archived 6 December 2000 at (Barossa Valley, SA; McLaren Vale, SA; Adelaide Hills, SA)
  39. ^ Bridgewater Mill Archived 13 September 2001 at the Wayback Machine (Adelaide Hills, SA)
  40. ^ Croser (Piccadilly Valley, SA)
  41. ^ Knappstein Archived 29 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine (Clare Valley, SA)
  42. ^ Drinks International, 2010
  43. ^ Mitchelton (Nagambie, Vic)
  44. ^ Petaluma (Clare Valley, SA; Piccadilly Valley, SA; Mount Barker, SA; Coonawarra, SA)
  45. ^ Preece (Nagambie, Vic)
  46. ^ Smithbrook (Pemberton, WA)
  47. ^ St Hallett (Tanunda, Barossa Valley, SA)
  48. ^ Stonier Archived 9 November 2006 at the Wayback Machine (Mornington Peninsula, Vic)
  49. ^ Tatachilla (McLaren Vale, SA)
  50. ^ Wither Hills (Marlborough, NZ)
  51. ^ Other Products Archived 16 February 2016 at the Wayback Machine Capitol Chilled Foods