Epic Brewing will live on after the business was bought by a combination of a construction company and Hancock’s Wine Spirit & Beer Merchants, a company founded in 1859.
The Hancock’s hook is not a surprise in some ways as it gives Epic and instant distribution platform and opportunity to grow.
The other party in the deal is the Russell Group, one of New Zealand’s largest construction companies. They own Dominion Constructors, Acrow Ltd, Russell Property Group, Stresscrete and Russell Gordon Contracting.
Russell Group director Brett Russell has previously appeared on the NBR rich list.
The deal allows Epic founder Luke Nicholas to stay on at the brand and their Onehunga taproom will continue to operate.
“Well it sure has been an intense roller coaster ride over the last month,” Nicholas said in a social media post. “But we now can see some light at the end to this liquidation process with a successful purchase of Epic Beer. It means Epic will continue and I will be involved going forward. Exactly how and what this means still needs to be determined. I’ll add some more thoughts at some point once I have a chance a integrate this new exciting news.”
In a statement, Russell said the new ownership partnership was working with Nicholas and his wife Wendy on plans to ensure the essence of the business into the future.
“As two family-owned businesses, we understand the pressures at a low point in the cycle, and didn’t want this iconic, almost two-decade ‘game changer’ brand, developed by a family-owned business, to disappear,” said Russell. “We’ve bought it to strengthen what is already a great brand into the future,” he said.
Jedda Jakicevich of Hancock’s said the acquisition ensured that Epic would keep trading with minimal loss of momentum. He said that the terms of the deal were commercially confidential, but the company would have more to say as it completed its business planning now that a new ownership structure was in place.
Hancock’s has been in the alcohol business since 1859 when Thomas Hancock bought the Captain Cook Inn, which was at the far end of Auckland’s Khyber Pass Road.
Importantly it was one of the 10 breweries that merged to become New Zealand Breweries, and ultimately the company known today as Lion.
Today Hancock’s is owned by the Jakicevich family and is the exclusive distributors in New Zealand for brands such as Jack Daniel’s, The Macallan, Mud House, Cointreau, Woodford Reserve, The Famous Grouse, Allan Scott Family Winemakers, Scapegrace, Quick
Brown Fox, Trinity Hill, Grant Burgeand De Kuyper Liqueurs. They have previously been a distributor for the likes of Deep Creek and Stoke and currently have Yeastie Boys and Puhoi beer in their stable.