Heineken Buys a Stake in U.S. Based Craft Brewer - Global Trade Magazine
  September 14th, 2015 | Written by

Heineken Buys a Stake in U.S. Based Craft Brewer

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  • Craft beer is outperforming the overall market in the U.S.
  • Lagunitas operates breweries in Petaluma, California, and Chicago, with another under construction in LA.
  • Lagunitas, which began operations in 1993, ranks as the fifth-largest craft brewer in the U.S.

Old-world Dutch brewer Heineken has taken a major step into the new world of American craft beer making with the acquisition of a 50 percent stake in California-based Lagunitas,

Craft beer is outperforming the overall market in the U.S. with India Pale Ale – currently the fastest-growing craft category – “a particular strength of Lagunitas,” said Heineken Executive Board Chairman and CEO, Jean-François van Boxmeer

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

Lagunitas operates a pair of breweries, one at its Petaluma, California, headquarters and one in Chicago, with another under construction in the Los Angeles area.

“This alliance with the world’s most international brewer represents a profound victory for U.S. craft,” said Lagunitas founder Tony Magee. “It will open doors that had previously been shut and bring the U.S. craft beer vibe to communities all over the world.”

Lagunitas, which officially began operations on Magee’s kitchen stove in 1993, ranks as the fifth-largest craft brewer in the U.S., and, over the past several years, has expanded its multi-branded product line into a number of other markets including the UK, Canada, Sweden and Japan.

Founded in 1873 in Amsterdam by 22-year old aspiring brewer Gerard Adriaan Heineken, Heineken is one of the largest brewers in the world with a portfolio of more than 250 international, regional, local and specialty beers and ciders. The company has won numerous prestigious international awards over the years, and, after prohibition was lifted in 1933, was the first European beer to be exported to the U.S.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but Heineken said the company will not be integrated into its U.S. portfolio and that it would maintain its current distributor network. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to complete by the end of this year.