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Who Owns The Brewery – Part 1: Kirin

Do you know who owns and produces the “craft beer” you are drinking?

As with all businesses, not all is as it seems as there are many breweries promoting themselves as craft breweries making craft beers.

To provide a guide to the every increasingly difficult landscape of who owns the brewery, we have produced a series of guides to help understand “Who Owns The Brewery”.

In Part 1 we look at Kirin.

Who-Owns-The-Brewery-KirinThe Parent Company

Kirin is part of the huge Mitsubishi group of Japanese companies, and has been producing beer for over 100 years. It now has global beer interests through a series of company ownerships and alliances. It wholly owns Lion having bought the company in 2009.

The Australian Company

Lion (formally Lion Nathan) was originally a New Zealand company that became one of the largest Australian beer companies when it acquired the Bond Corporations brewing companies in 1990. These included Tooheys and XXXX. In 2009 the shareholders voted to sell the whole company to Kirin.

“Craft Brands”

Lion, by their own definition, have a number of very popular and widely available craft beer brands. Some have been smaller breweries they have bought, with others being brands created to give the impression of being small independent craft breweries.

The brands are:

  • James Squire – the core range of beers brewed at the Camperdown, Sydney brewery are supplemented in the five “brewhouses” by beers produced locally on breweries located in the venues
  • Kosciuszko
  • Little Creatures – the beers are produced at both the original Fremantle, WA brewery and the recently opened Geelong, VIC brewery.
  • White Rabbit – the beers are produced at the recently opened brewery, co-located with the new Little Creatures brewery in Geelong, VIC.
  • Knappstein
  • Furphy – a new brand brewed at the new Little Creatures brewery in Geelong, VIC.

Other Beer Brands

Being a large company, Lion also produce a range of commercial beers which include:

  • XXXX
  • Tooheys
  • Hahn
  • James Boag’s
  • Emu
  • Swan
  • West End

International Brands

They also produce in Australia, or import a range of international beers.

Those brewed under licence in Australia include:

  • Becks
  • Guinness (but not the cans, which are imported from Ireland)
  • Heineken
  • Kilkenny (but not the cans, which are imported from Ireland)
  • Kirin
  • Stella Artois

Whilst the range that is brewed elsewhere that is imported under licence include:

  • BelleVue Kriek
  • Budweiser
  • Corona
  • Hoegaarden
  • Leffe

In Part 2 we’ll be looking at ABInBev who own Carlton & United Breweries (CUB).