- Heineken International has moved to acquire a 50% stake in fast-growing craft brewer Lagunitas Brewing. Financial terms for the joint venture were not disclosed, but "sources familiar with craft deals, according to the company’s hometown paper, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, have said the blockbuster deal could value Lagunitas at $1 billion," Brewbound reported.
- In 2014, craft beer barrel volumes overall rose 18%, per the Brewers Association, while Lagunitas' barrel volume rose 50% in the same time frame.
- The announcement comes just a month after Reuters reported that Lagunitas was considering selling a stake in its brewery.
Heineken is the latest major beer company to see the appeal of acquiring all or a portion of a craft brewery business, as Anheuser-Busch InBev, has already moved to acquire a number of craft breweries over the past few years.
Lagunitas was an obvious choice for Heineken, as the fast-growing craft brewer ranked No. 6 on the Brewers Association's most recent Top 50 ranking of U.S. craft beer breweries.
Heineken will enable Lagunitas to expand globally, starting with Mexico, an opportunity most other American craft breweries don't have, or don't want. Some craft breweries prefer to keep their customer base smaller and more local, and many consumers prefer that about their craft beer as well, often part of the appeal. It's unclear how Lagunitas fans will react to the news of the brewery's joint partnership with a major beer company.
"This is not the end of anything at all at Lagunitas, except maybe it is the end of the beginning, meaning that we are now standing at the threshold of an historic opportunity to export the excitement and vibe of American-born Craft Brewing and meet beer-lovers all over the Planet Earth, our true homeland," Lagunitas founder Tony Magee wrote in his personal Tumblr account.