Australian brewer Lion had been eying up the size and potential of the UK craft market with the acquisitions of the craft brewers in 2019 and 2018 respectively, as well as seeing the opportunity to expand these brands abroad.
It now says, however, that it wants to focus future investment towards its businesses in Australia, New Zealand and the US: where it has made significant craft beer investments (in the US, it acquired New Belgium Brewing in 2019; Bell’s Brewery in 2021 and opened a Little Creatures venue and microbrewery in San Francisco in 2019).
Lion, a subsidiary of Japan’s Kirin, announced a review of the UK business in January: saying that, 'like any business, we need to make choices as to where we continue to direct our investment.'
“Following a strategic review, Odyssey represented the right team of UK beer and hospitality industry experts to lead the Fourpure and Magic Rock brands into their next chapters,” says a statement from the company announcing the sale this week.
“The sale also includes the breweries and taprooms in London, Huddersfield and Holmfirth and Little Creatures craft beer hospitality venue in Kings Cross, London.”
The Odyssey team is led by Stephen Cox, who brings more than 20 years of experience in hospitality and the UK pub sector and also co-founded Devon’s Utopian Brewing.
Cox said: “This is an incredible opportunity to take two exceptional brands, Fourpure and Magic Rock, to the next level. Combined with an excellent hospitality proposition, fantastic people and state of the art breweries, we really have the platform to do great things.”