Craft strong in tough year for Lion

Lion’s beer portfolio performed slightly behind the market overall last year, but James Squire and Little Creatures continued their solid growth, the brewer said.

Specific financial results were not disclosedfor Lion Beer Australia in this week’s trading update for Lion Group, aligned with parent company Kirin’s financial year ended September 30, 2016.

“While consumer confidence remains fragile I am confident Lion Beer Australia will continue to make good progress and the conclusion of Lion’s distribution agreement with ABInBev, means Lion will be able to increase its focus on its core Lion and Kirin portfolio of strong brands,” commented CEO Stuart Irvine.

“James Squire and Little Creatures are delivering solid growth and the acquisitions we have made this year in both Australian and New Zealand will only increase this momentum.

“We are now also taking these brands across the region opening Little Creatures Bars in Hong Kong and Shanghai with further expansion planned for the year ahead,” said Irvine.

The brewer said it had continued to invest in beer category health through its Beer, The Beautiful Truth campaign last year.

“While the Australian beer market benefited from this and grew slightly off the back of warmer weather in key states, Lion’s portfolio performed slightly behind the market in volume terms,” it said.

NZ revenueup five per cent
In NZ, total volumes in Lion’s Beer, Spirits & Wine business increased by one per cent, while sales revenues increased by five per cent.

“Lion’s craft beers continued their strong performance, with Emerson’s growing 49 per cent and moving to a new home in Dunedin,” the brewer said.

“Growing at 80 per cent, Panhead is the fastest growing of the top 10 craft beers in New Zealand.

“Innovation continued to drive growth, with the revitalised Mac’s range growing at 30 per cent, contributing to an excellent performance in popular craft.”

Overall, the Lion Group delivered EBIT of $694 million, which was in line with the previous year.

Operating net profit after tax rose $11.7 million to $280 million.

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