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Our History

Formed by the amalgamation of some of Australia and New Zealand’s most celebrated food and beverage companies, Lion has a rich local heritage.

1999

Pura becomes Australia's first and only national milk brand when National Foods' new Crestmead milk plant is opened. A new milk plant at Salisbury (SA) and a new cream plant at Chelsea (VIC) are also opened.

National Foods acquires the Yoplait franchise in New Zealand.

The Hahn Brewery is renamed the Malt Shovel Brewery in honour of Australia's first commercial brewer.

1998

National Foods announces plans to enter the Queensland milk market with the construction of a plant at Crestmead. The dairy foods plant at Morwell opens.

Douglas Myers, acting as Chairman of the Lion Nathan Board, sells most of his 16 per cent share in Lion Nathan to Kirin Brewery Company of Japan. Kirin goes on to acquire a 45 per cent interest in the company, creating the fourth largest brewing alliance in the world.

1997

National Foods' corporate head office is relocated from Sydney to Melbourne.

The remainder of New Zealand Breweries takes on the name Lion Breweries.

After 15 years as Managing Director then Chief Executive Officer, Douglas Myers is appointed Chairman of the Lion Nathan Board.

1995

National Foods secures the rights to manufacture and distribute Yoplait fresh dairy food products in Australia.

Lion Nathan enters the Chinese beer market through the purchase of a controlling interest in the Taihushui brewery in Wuxi.

1994

Masters Dairy in West Australia is acquired. National Foods gains leadership of the national market milk sector.

Brent Marris establishes the Wither Hills wine label.

1992 / 1993

United Dairies in New South Wales is acquired.

Lion Nathan acquires the remaining 50 per cent of Natbrew Holdings. Tooheys, Castlemaine Perkins and the Swan Brewing Company begin operating as independent breweries under the Lion Nathan umbrella. A year later, Lion Nathan acquires New South Wales boutique brewer, Hahn Brewing, and the South Australian Brewing Company.

1991

XXXX Gold is born.

National Foods is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. The Just Juice brand is acquired.

1990


Lion Nathan buys a 50 per cent share in Natbrew Holdings, which owned Alan Bond's brewing assets in Australia – including Castlemaine Tooheys and Swan Brewing.

1988


Lion Nathan is formed when New Zealand's largest retailer, LD Nathan & Co, merges with brewer, wine and spirit manufacturer and hotel operator, Lion Breweries.

1987


Building starts on the Hahn Brewery, in a converted furniture factory in Camperdown, Sydney. Hahn Premium is born.

1985


Castlemaine Tooheys is acquired by Bond Corporation.

1982


The Swan Brewery becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Alan Bond's Bond Corporation.

1981

McCashins Brewery is established by Terry McCashin in Nelson, New Zealand. Mac's Real Ale is born.

Campbell & Ehrenfried sells shares in New Zealand Wines and Spirits and purchase a 20 per cent share in Lion Breweries.

1980


Tooheys and Castlemaine Perkins merge to form Castlemaine Tooheys.

1978


The Standard Brewery closes and all Tooheys operations relocate to Auburn.

1977

Dairy Farmers invests in an Ultra High Temperature (UHT) production line. The long-life UHT milk was a great success and the Dairy Farmers business gained an immediate market in the hotel and airline industry.

The northern division of New Zealand Breweries takes on the name Lion Breweries.

1976


Brian Croser establishes Petaluma in South Australia and makes the first Petaluma wine, a Riesling from a Goulburn Valley vineyard.

1971


New Zealand Wines & Spirits is formed through a 50/50 joint venture by Campbell & Ehrenfried and New Zealand Breweries.

1965


Douglas Myers becomes CEO of Campbell & Ehrenfried.

1961


LD Nathan acquires Waikato Breweries from CL Innes.

1960

Speight's is taken off the market, but reintroduced after public outcry.

1958


Steinecker (renamed Steinlager in 1962) is born.

1944


The Lindner Family establish St Hallett in Australia's best known wine region, the Barossa Valley.

1931

Tooheys NEW is born.

1928

The Castlemaine Brewery buys out major rival Perkins & Co, which owned the City Brewery, the Toowoomba Brewery, the Toowoomba Maltings and a number of hotels. The new company is known as Castlemaine Perkins.

Swan acquires major competitor, the Emu Brewery.

1924


The first caricature of Mr. Fourex appears in an advertisement. XXXX BITTER is born.

1923

Lion Brewery is one of the ten major brewing companies that amalgamate to form New Zealand Breweries Ltd.

Emu Bitter is born.

1914


The Great Northern Brewery becomes officially known as the Lion Brewery when the company merges with Campbell & Ehrenfried.

1920 /1921


By the start of the 1920s, the Dairy Farmers Co-operative was receiving, processing and selling nearly 23 million litres (five million gallons) of milk a year.

1908


Previously known as Stanley Co-operative Brewery and the Albion Brewery, the Emu Brewery is established in Perth.

1902


With the family-owned Tooheys business being transferred to a limited company, the Stag is chosen as the Tooheys trademark. The symbol is derived from John Toohey's favourite hotel, the Bald Faced Stag Hotel in Leichardt, Sydney.

1900


The Dairy Farmers Co-operative Milk Co. was formed on January 15 1900. Sixty five stakeholders, many of them dairy farmers from the New South Wales Illawarra region, came together and agreed to run the new organisation on 'true co-operative lines'. The Co-operative would help these early farmers to work together to effectively market their milk and butter directly to consumers in the city.