Lion takes 50% stake in Australian craft distiller Four Pillars Gin

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Four Pillars' co-founders Stuart Gregor, Cameron Mackenzie and Matt Jones.
Four Pillars' co-founders Stuart Gregor, Cameron Mackenzie and Matt Jones.

Related tags Australia Gin

Australian beer and beverage company Lion is taking a 50% stake in Four Pillars Gin, a craft gin brand in Victoria.

The Healesville distillery was established in 2013 by Stuart Gregor, Cameron Mackenzie and Matt Jones. Four Pillars’ sales in Australia have almost doubled every year since its launch: with 92% growth from 2016-2017.

Four Pillars now exports to more than 25 international markets, including the UK, the Nordics, Singapore, New Zealand and the US.

'We'll be Lion's first and most important craft spirit brand!'

As part of Lion Group (a subsidiary of Kirin Holdings) Lion is behind beer brands such as XXXX, james Boag and Tooheys. Its portfolio also includes craft brands such as James Squire and Malt Shovel, Little Creatures, Kosciuszko and Furphy.

Stuart Gregor, co-founder, Four Pillars, said: “It would not be untrue to say that more than a few organisations have shown an interest in us over the past 18 months and Lion just felt the best. We like their focus on craft, we like the fact we will be their first and most important craft spirit brand, and we like the fact that part of the deal is a slab of Furphy every month for the rest of our lives.”

In Australia, gin consumption continues to grow: up 16% from 2016 to 2017. Consumption of locally-made gin is growing particularly fast - up 33% from 2016 to 2017 - and locally-made gin accounted for 13.8% of all gin consumed in Australia in 2017 (up from 7.8% in 2014).

Four Pillars makes all its gin at its Yarra Valley distillery on the outskirts of Melbourne, using four German-manufactured Carl copper stills.

The distillery is also growing its visitor experience: it estimates 90,000 people will visit the distillery in 2019, with plans to grow both the production and hospitality aspects of the business in 2020.

Four Pillars employs around 50 full-time equivalent staff and has staff based in Singapore, San Francisco and London as well as teams in Sydney, Melbourne and Healesville.

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