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Lion acquires Four Pillars

Sydney-based food and beverage marketing company Lion has taken ownership of Australian spirits producer Four Pillars for an undisclosed sum.

Four Pillars
Four Pillars produces a range of gins, as well as non-alcoholic ‘spirits’ and ready-to-drink serves

The announcement comes after the company purchased 50% of the Yarra Valley-based gin business in 2019.

The acquisition includes ownership of the distillery in Healesville and all domestic and international sales and marketing of the brand.

Four Pillars joins the Lion-owned Vanguard Luxury Brands distribution business, which has been the domestic distributor of the brand since 2013.

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

Lion CEO Sam Fischer commented: “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 its portfolio.

L-R: Ed Stening, Cameron Mackenzie and Sam Fischer

“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 added: “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 10 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.”

The combined Four Pillars and Vanguard business will operate as a stand-alone spirits division within Lion Australia, called Four Corners Global Spirits. It will be headed up by former Beam Suntory executive Ed Stening, who will report to Lion Australia’s managing director, David Smith.

Four Pillars won eight medals in The Gin Masters 2023 – First Tasting.

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