Heineken buys 50% stake in Lagunitas

Heineken NV has acquired a 50% shareholding in the Lagunitas Brewing Company, the fifth-largest craft brewer in the US by volume, for an undisclosed sum (but reckoned locally to be around $500 million).

Lagunitas owns a stable of award-winning brands including Lagunitas IPA, the largest India Pale Ale brand in the US. Within the US craft beer segment, IPA is the fastest-growing category.

“The transaction will provide Heineken with the opportunity to build a strong foothold in the dynamic craft brewing category on a global scale” stated Heineken recently, “whilst it provides Lagunitas with a global opportunity to present its beers to new consumers in a category that’s showing exciting international growth opportunities.”

Founded in California in 1993, Lagunitas is likely to sell around 1 million hectolitres of beer in 2015 from its two world-class breweries in Petaluma, California and Chicago, Illinois. A third brewery is currently under construction in Azusa, California. The brewer has a strong track-record of growth, with revenue CAGR running at 58% from 2012 to 2014.

The brand has a nationwide presence in the US and the brewer has expanded into a number of other markets including the UK, Canada, Sweden and Japan, offering strong potential for continued growth outside the US.

Lagunitas will continue to be led by Tony Magee, its founder and Executive Chairman, alongside the existing management team and the company will continue to operate as an independent entity.

The transaction is expected to complete in the fourth quarter of 2015.

“This venture will create a way for Lagunitas to let Heineken participate in the growing craft beer category across its global distribution network in places from Tierra Del Fuego and Mongolia to the far-flung Isle of Langerhans,” commented Tony Magee, pointing out that Lagunitas will enjoy access to opportunities that took lifetimes to build.

Despite criticism from a number of quarters in the craft brewing industry, he insisted that, “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”.

Lagunitas will continue to be led by Tony Magee, its founder and Executive Chairman, alongside the existing management team and the company will continue to operate as an independent entity.

Lagunitas will continue to be led by Tony Magee, its founder and Executive Chairman, alongside the existing management team and the company will continue to operate as an independent entity.


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