Lion Little World Beverages (LWB), a global craft division of Kirin Holdings’ beverage company Lion, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire 100% stake in New Belgium Brewing.

The latest move comes as Lion Little World Beverages aims to expand its presence in the largest craft-beer market.

Lion CEO Stuart Irvine said: “We’re excited to welcome New Belgium Brewing into the Lion fold and take a significant step forward in the largest craft beer market in the world.

“Kirin has entrusted Lion with leading its global craft beer strategy and today’s announcement is an important milestone for all of us as we look to drive growth in markets beyond Australia, New Zealand and Japan.”

Established in 1991, New Belgium Brewing produces beer products, as well as wood-aged sours in the US. The company’s brand portfolio includes Fat Tire Amber Ale and Voodoo Ranger IPA.

It operates two brewing facilities in Fort Collins, Colorado and Asheville, North Carolina and has a national distribution platform.

Completion of the deal is subject to approvals by regulators and the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) and other customary closing conditions. It is expected to take place by the end of the year.

New Belgium Brewing co-founder Kim Jordan said: “We’ve been pushing the boundaries of beer innovation as pioneers for almost three decades.

“Lion Little World Beverages are brewers’ brewers and we have really felt their commitment to this ancient craft.”

Additionally, Lion will support and nurture New Belgium’s identity and brand in the craft beer segment.

Upon completion of the deal, New Belgium Brewing will continue its central operations in Fort Collins, Colorado and Steve Fechheimer will be appointed CEO, along with the existing management team.

The companies are yet to disclose the financial details of the transaction.