By Ben Warwick

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – It appears one of the biggest independent craft breweries in the world will soon no longer be independent. Lion Little World Beverages, a subsidiary of Kirin, is set to purchase New Belgium Brewery.

In an all-cash transaction, and pending approvals by regulators and the brewing company’s stockholders/employees, New Belgium will join the worldwide beverage company by the end of the year.

Lion Little World Beverages, based in Australia and owned by Kirin, a Japanese holdings company, will remain committed to “protecting and nurturing New Belgium’s unique identity, culture, and brand as a leader in craft beer,” according to a press release. The brewery headquarters will stay in Fort Collins and CEO Steve Fechheimer will stay in his position.

New Belgium was founded in 1991, and has distributed popular beers like Fat Tire Amber Ale and Voodoo Ranger IPA nationally. New Belgium is the fourth-largest craft brewery in the U.S., with breweries in Fort Collins, Denver, and Asheville, North Carolina. Up until this point, it has been an employee-owned business.

Ben Warwick