Lion has sold its UK operations to newly launched venture Odyssey Inns. The sale includes the Magic Rock and Fourpure beer brands, their the breweries and taprooms in London, Huddersfield and Holmfirth, and Little Creatures craft beer hospitality venue in London.
Lion put the UK business Little World Beverages up for sale in January following a decision to focus on its US, New Zealand and Australian operations.
Odyssey owner Stephen 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. We’re excited to get started and get to know the team.
“We bring bags of energy and enthusiasm, entrepreneurial spirit and strong industry experience, and we hope to bring joy to many more customers with these great beers.”
Lion’s UK MD Gordon Treanor said: “Odyssey brings together a great team with a clear passion for brewing and hospitality and is ideally placed to take Magic Rock and Fourpure forward. I’d like to thank our brilliant team for their commitment and dedication, especially over the past two years. With some great sales and brand momentum, the business is well placed for the future ahead, under new ownership.”
Lion entered the UK with its acquisition of Fourpure in 2018, before acquiring Magic Rock in 2019 and combining them into one business a year later.
Difficult trading conditions
Lion announced in January that it was reviewing options for its Lion Little World Beverages UK business.
At the time Treanor said: “Both Magic Rock and Fourpure are well-established, award winning modern craft brands. Crafted in our state-of-the-art breweries, our beers resonate with consumers across the UK, while our businesses remain deeply connected to their local communities.
“Despite difficult trading conditions over the past two years, we have continued to invest in the business and have been building momentum. We believe that the business is well placed to benefit, particularly as trading conditions improve.”
“At the same time, Lion has made very significant craft beer investments in both Australia and the United States, to the extent that our US business is now a leading US craft brewer. Like any business, we need to make choices as to where we continue to direct our investment.”
Last year, Lion acquired Bell’s Brewery, the seventh largest craft brewery in the United States , which joined New Belgium Brewing, the fourth largest craft brewery in the United States, bought by Lion in 2019.