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Lagunitas sells share to Heineken

Lagunitas1The craft beer world seems more and more to be filled with acquisitions and mergers. From ABInbev’s procurement of such luminaries as Goose Island and Elysian to Miller/Coors’ grab of a minority stake in Athens, Ga. brewer Terrapin Beer Company, craft beer is becoming a bottom line boost for traditional macro breweries. The latest partnership is that of Dutch beer giant Heineken and California’s Lagunitas Brewing Company.

“This venture will create a way for Lagunitas to help Heineken’s global distribution network participate in the growing craft beer category,” Magee said in a press release. “This alliance with the world’s most international brewer represents a profound victory for American craft. It will open doors that had previously been shut and bring the U.S. craft beer vibe to communities all over the world.”

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year with Heineken gaining a 50% share of the craft brewery. Lagunitas founder and owner Tony Magee will retain control as CEO of the brewery.

In a prepared statement, Magee said the deal would help Lagunitas build its brand globally; reaching parts of the world that other U.S. craft brands haven’t yet tapped. With global demand for American craft beers reaching new heights, this strategy could help catapult the brand onto the world stage.

In 2014 alone, American craft beer export volume was up by 35.7% for a total of $99.7 million, according to the Brewers Association, the trade group for American independent craft brewers.

In an article on SFGate.com, Magee insists that the merger will not change the character of the traditionally non-traditional company.

“We are what we are,” said Magee in the SFGate article, noting that Lagunitas approached Heineken about the deal, not the other way around. “Achieving scale doesn’t change things unless you allow it to change you.”

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2015 in Beer News

 

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Heineken raises ire of some Brits for official beer of Olympics designation

Heineken

Heineken (Photo credit: planetc1)

Beer is a universal language of sorts. Beer lovers from all over the world can gather in a pub, and thought they may not speak the same spoken language, they can get bond over a cold pint. Nowhere is beer a more important part of society than in Britain. Beer is the national drink and pubs dot the cities like spots on a Dalmatian pup.  It is understandable then that some Brits find it a little insulting that a Dutch beer has been chosen as the official beer of the Summer Olympic Games in London later this month. Dutch lager Heineken was chosen by the International Olympics Committee (IOC) as the official beer of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.

Greg Mulholland, a Liberal Democrat Party Member and the chair of the “All Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group” recently vehemently criticized the IOC for its lack of sensitivity  by choosing Heineken over a more British brew.

“Beer is the UK’s national drink,” Mulholland said. “And the country has a strong and ancient tradition of brewing; by choosing a mass produced bland foreign lager, the committee has ignored all the wonderful, traditional beers that the UK has to offer and instead gone for the company with the biggest [check] book.”

The Parliamentarian went on to say, “The Olympic Games is a prime opportunity for Britain to showcase the best of British, including the opportunity to promote its traditional beers and its thriving brewing industry. By opting for Heineken as the official beer, the opportunity has been lost. The decision is completely at odds with the strong positive British identity of the bid and the forthcoming London 2012 Olympics.”

Heineken, based in The Netherlands, defended itself with a statement released to The Drinks Business, an industry news organization. In part the statement reads, “Heineken is proud to have been chosen as an official supplier and partner to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, building on an association that goes back 20 years.”

The company also released a statement to the Guardian the United Kingdom-based news organization that speaks to the company’s intention to sell British brews as well. “”In addition to Heineken lager, we will supply London 2012 venues with the nation’s favourite ale, British-brewed John Smith’s, and the nation’s favourite cider, British-made Strongbow.”

John Smith’s and Strongbow, while made in Britain, are owned by Heineken. Heineken employs 2,500 people in the UK, many of whom previously worked for Scottish and Newcastle, which the brewing giant has taken over.

The Dutch brewery added that its scale allows it to meet the logistical challenge of supplying the 45 licensed venues that will host the 2012 London Games.

This is not the first time the Dutch beer brewer has raised the ire of Brits either. Earlier this year it was announced that British icon, and super spy James Bond, will quaff a Heineken in “Skyfall” the next Bond film to be released later this year.

In the end, Brits and others who attend the Olympics and want to drink a beer as they enjoy the spectacle will have little choice. Most will merely fork over the 4.20 pounds the brews will cost, smile and in that most British of behaviors, endure it.

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2012 in Beer, Beer News

 

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