Lion will handle Guinness and Kilkenny in Australia from November

Lion will handle Guinness and Kilkenny in Australia from November

Lion has captured the brewing rights for Guinness and Kilkenny in Australia from its rival, SABMiller-owned Foster’s. 

The Kirin Holdings-owned firm said yesterday (June 13) that it has agreed a deal with Diageo to add the two brands to its portfolio from November. Lion will manage the brewing of Guinness Draught, Kilkenny Draught and Extra Stout, as well as distribution, sales and marketing for both brands in “all existing formats”, the company said. 

Foster’s has lost a number of brands since being acquired by SABMiller last December. In March, it lost the licence to brew Grupo Modelo’s Corona Extra, which also went to Lion, and in February lost the rights to Asahi. Anheuser-Busch InBev brands Stella Artois, Hoegaarden and Leffe also went to Lion from Foster's, at the end of last year.

James Brindley, MD of Lion's beer, spirits & wine Australia unit, said the two new brands “strengthen our leading international premium portfolio”.

He added: “Guinness and Kilkenny have fantastic heritage and we are delighted to have the opportunity to further grow these brands in Australia.” 

Lion already manufactures and distributes Guinness and Kilkenny in New Zealand through a pre-existing relationship with Diageo.

Tim Salt, Diageo Australia managing director, said: “We have enjoyed a successful and productive relationship with Foster’s for the past nine years and would like to thank them for their co-operation.”

A spokesperson for Foster's added: "CUB has manufactured these products for Diageo under a toll arrangement but is not involved in the marketing or sales of them. 

"This change will have limited impact on our manufacturing given the small volumes involved."