Heineken joins with Lagunitas
Acquires 50% of fifth largest US craft brewer
Heineken is the latest multinational to succumb to the excitements of ownership of a craft brewery – or, in this instance, partnership.
Last week the Dutch brewer announced that it had acquired a 50% stake in Laguintas Brewing Company, today the United States’ fifth largest craft brewer from a standing start as recently as 1993.
The prize is flagship brand Lagunitas IPA, claimed to be the leading brand of the fastest growing beer style of the American craft beer segment. Lagunitas has three breweries, the first in Petaluma, California as well as Chicago, Illinois. A third brewery is currently under construction in Azusa, California. Beer volumes for 2015 will be around one million hectolitres.
Lagunitas will continue to be led by Tony Magee, its founder and executive chairman, alongside the existing management team. The company will continue to operate as an independent entity.
Heineken CEO Jean-François van Boxmeer commented, "We are very excited to partner with Lagunitas. We recognise and respect the tremendous success of Tony and his team in building one of the great U.S. craft beer brands. We look forward to that same team partnering with us to expand Lagunitas globally, so it can reach parts of the world that other craft beer brands have not."
The transaction is ostensibly a win-win, providing Heineken with an entrée and greater insight into the US craft beer market, as well as providing it with a beer brand with potential for export. It’s this latter element that had Lagunitas approach Heineken about a partnership with it especially interested in developing the Mexican market, which despite proximity is largely devoid of imported American craft beers.
Lagunitas has a nationwide presence in the United States. The brewer has already expanded into a number of other markets including the UK, Canada, Sweden and Japan.
“Lagunitas will share in the best quality processes in the world and enjoy access to opportunities that took lifetimes to build,” said Magee.
“This alliance with the world's most international brewer represents a profound victory for US craft. It will open doors that had previously been shut and bring the US craft beer vibe to communities all over the world."
The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2015. Although financial terms were not disclosed by the parties, Laguintas local paper in Petaluma, California has reported a US $500 million price tag for Heineken’s half share.