Asahi is Australia's largest brewing company. The Japanese food and beverage giant cemented its position as the country's biggest producer with the acquisition of Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) from AB InBev in 2019. The multinational has long been involved in the craft beer industry here and globally and today owns many of the country's most-awarded breweries.
Kirin acquired Lion Nathan (now Lion) in 2009. It is one of Japan’s largest beverage producers and a major member of the Mitsubishi Group. Alongside the long-established brands in its craft portfolio, such as Little Creatures, James Squire and White Rabbit, Lion has created a number of its own brewpub-based brands in Australia. The company snapped up the Fermentum Group, including Stone & Wood, Fixation, Two Birds and Forest For The Trees (since discontinued), in 2021.
The Endeavour Group demerged from Woolworths in 2021 and is Australia’s largest drinks retail business, operating both bottleshops and venues. These include Dan Murphy’s, BWS, ALH Hotels and the Jimmy Brings delivery service. The ASX-listed business also creates and manages its own drinks portfolio under the Pinnacle Drinks banner, which includes spirits, wine, locally-made and imported beer, and has been cited as a driver in the company's strong performance in 2021. For the purposes of this, we have focused on their craftier Australian brands.
The Coles Group is one of Australia's largest supermarket companies with more than 2,500 retail outlets nationally. That includes close to 900 liquor stores across the country, which trade as Liquorland, First Choice Liquor, First Choice Liquor Market and Vintage Cellars.
Coca-Cola Europacific Partners is a major drinks business that’s headquartered in England but operates in Europe, Asia and Australia. In 2021, the company announced its decision to exit beer and cider in Australia, which will see the company look to sell Feral, which it has owned since 2017. In 2022, the company announced it would sell its stake in the Australian Beer Co to its venture partner, Casella Family Brands.
As Australia’s craft beer market has grown and matured, some of the country’s largest independent brewing companies have bought, developed or distributed drinks brands that sit under a broader banner, while Mighty Craft (formerly Founders First) is building a portfolio of drinks brands. We first covered the trend in this article.