Brewing giant and Australian craft beer specialist Lion has invested in Four Pillars gin, taking a 50% share of the business.

As reported, Four Pillars was launched by Stuart Gregor, Cameron Mackenzie and Matt Jones in the Yarra Valley in 2013. It has since become the biggest-selling craft spirit in Australia, with distribution in 20 markets worldwide.

Four Pillars’ rapid rise in the craft gin stakes is led by Co-Founders Matt Jones, Cameron Mackenzie and Stuart Gregor.

In a statement, the partners said Lion’s investment would allow the brand’s founders to “follow their dream of building the world’s leading craft gin brand”.

Four Pillars Co-Founder Stuart Gregor noted that several organisations had shown interest in the business over the past 18 months, adding that Lion “just felt the best”.

“We like their focus on craft, we like the fact we will be their first and most important craft spirit brand… we have a terrific relationship with the senior management at Lion and reckon this is the start of a really exciting new chapter for our business,” he said.

Four Pillars Rare Dry is at the core of the craft gin brand’s offer.

Lion is part of the Lion Group which is owned by Kirin Holidings. The beverage company’s portfolio includes James Squire, Malt Shovel, Little Creatures, Kosciuszko and Furphy.

Lion Managing Director James Brindley commented: “The partnership with Four Pillars is really exciting for Lion, as we venture into new categories outside our core beer business.”

He described Four Pillars’ development as “nothing short of remarkable”, adding that its founders will continue to run the business.