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Lion takes full control of Australia’s Four Pillars

Australasian beverage company Lion announced that it has assumed 100 percent ownership of Four Pillars, Australia’s number one craft spirit brand.

The announcement comes just over four years since Lion purchased 50 percent of the Yarra Valley-based gin business.

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The acquisition includes ownership of the Healesville, Victoria distillery and all domestic and international sales and marketing of the brand. Four Pillars joins Lion’s Vanguard Luxury Brands distribution business, providing a solid foundation for growth in premium spirits, Lion said.

Two of Four Pillars’ co-founders, chief distiller Cameron Mackenzie and brand and strategy director Matt Jones, will remain in the business in their current capacities. Fellow co-founder and trade director Stuart Gregor will remain in the short term before taking an extended sabbatical.

Ed Stening (left), well known to the travel retail community from his Beam Suntory days, will head Lion Australia’s stand-alone spirits division Four Corners Global Spirits. He is pictured here with Four Pillars Co-Founder Cameron Mackenzie (centre) and Lion CEO Sam Fischer. Source: Sean Paris

Welcoming the announcement, Lion CEO Sam Fischer said: “It’s not every day you get to buy the world’s best gin distillery but today Lion is absolutely thrilled to add Four Pillars to our portfolio.

“Twice winners of the International Gin Distillery of the year, on the shortlist again this year, and Australia’s benchmark craft spirit – it is a great day for our business.

“We look forward to supporting the continued growth of this remarkable brand, working with Cam and Matt to help drive our future plans. Alongside continued investment behind our core beer business, we see premium spirits as a real opportunity for future growth.”

Mackenzie said: “This is a great day for our brand, the business, our home in Healesville, our investors, families and staff. It does feel like it’s been a whirlwind ten years, and this feels like the absolute right next step.

“Lion has played an integral part in us expanding our Healesville home, increasing our footprint across Australia and now increasingly New Zealand, as well as helping us plug into some great opportunities internationally and in global travel retail through the wider Lion network.”

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The combined Four Pillars and Vanguard business will operate as a stand-alone spirits division within Lion Australia, called Four Corners Global Spirits, headed by former Beam Suntory executive Ed Stening.

Stening reports into Lion Australia Managing Director, David Smith.