The recently announced transaction between Lagunitas Brewing Company and Heineken N.V. marks the third transaction over the last ten months between a major US craft brewery and a large foreign brewery.
Masterchef victor Tim Anderson tweeted that the acquisition further complicates the already murky term “craft” beer. What grew from these conversations was an opportunity like none other to date: an open door to a planet filled with beer lovers.
The agreement, reflecting the move by large breweries into the craft beer, allows Heineken to share in the growth of Lagunitas’s brands.
The prior two transactions were Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s joint venture with Belgium-based Duvel Moortgat (July 2014) and Founders Brewing Company’s sale to Mahou San Miguel, the largest Spanish beer company (December 2014). Posting on Twitter in 2013, Magee said he had been wined and dined by an A B InBev executive and would “rather die on payroll” than sell the brewery to them.
“What we have created in this relationship is a wide staircase to the sky for all of our people and for our brand as well as for the home-grown vibe of American Craft brewing”, wrote Magee.
“We recognise and respect the tremendous success of Tony and his team in building one of the great USA craft beer brands”, Heineken Chairman and CEO Jean-Francois van Boxmeer said in a statement. Lagunitas founder Tony Magee will tell you, in detail, that it’s simply an acceptance of where craft beer is headed.
The bar, and its owner, Michael Ballard, are well known locally and beyond, after featuring in the reality series Full Throttle Saloon on the truTV channel from 2009 to 2014. No one was harmed in the fire, the cause of which has yet to be determined. Its centrepiece was the “Wall of Death”, a vertical motorcycle stunt ring.