Beer giant Lion buys NZ wine estate

Lion New Zealand has purchased the Morton Estate wine brand, including its Stone Creek vineyard, strengthening its expanding wine portfolio.

Marlb_SunThe deal, which was finalised this week for an undisclosed sum, will see Lion take control of the Marlborough-based wine estate, which was established in 1978.

Rory Glass, Lion’s New Zealand managing director said the deal will bolster the company’s wine portfolio, complementing its existing “accessible premium” brands, such as Wither Hills and Huntaway, adding that he had plans to grow Morton Estate beyond its existing channels “to fully unlock the potential of the brand”.

John Coney, proprietor of The Wine Portfolio, which owns Morton Estate, said: “I am confident that Lion is the right buyer for Morton Estate and the Stone Creek vineyard. I believe they are committed to developing the brand and I look forward to seeing it nurtured to its full potential. We can now channel our energies into growing my other wine brands and developing new opportunities for our customers.”

Lion is owned by Japanese brewing giant Kirin making the deal subject to Overseas Investment Office approval, however Lion said the handover between the two companies will begin this week and is set to be complete by early June.

Morton Estate was established in 1978 in Katikati and now has vineyards in Marlborough and Hawkes Bay, including the Riverview Estate, and Morton House in Auckland.Lion_primary_rgb-web-2011-200x200

Lion New Zealand portfolio includes Australian beer brands such as Tooheys, XXXX, Hahn and James Boag, New Zealand beer brand such as Speight’s, Steinlager and Mac’s as well as a host of spirits which are marketed and distributed via a joint venture with Bacardi-Martini, Bacardi Lion.

The Morton Estate brands will be available through the Lion’s NZ sales and distribution channel from early June.

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