Heineken Buys 50% Stake in Lagunitas

Another big brewer is buying a craft beer brand.

Heineken announced Sept. 8 that it is acquiring a 50% stake in California brewery Lagunitas Brewing Co.

Terms were not disclosed, but the deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter. Tony Magee, who founded Lagunitas in 1993, will continue to lead the craft beer company.

The acquisition follows Anheuser-Busch InBev recent craft beer buying spree. The Budweiser parent has snapped up Goose Island Brewing in Chicago; Blue Point Brewing in Patchogue, NY; 10 Barrel Brewing in Bend, OR; and Seattle-based Elysian Brewing in the past four years.

Lagunitas is best known for its fast-growing flagship IPA. One of the Beverage Information Group’s 2015 Fast Track Growth Brands, sales of Lagunitas IPA increased up 51.3%, reaching 4.4 million 2.25-gallon cases in 2014.

The company, which also produces A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale American Pale wheat ale style beer, is building a third brewery to keep up with demand.

“This venture will create a way for Lagunitas to let Heinelen 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,” said Magee in a press release. “Lagunitas will share in the best quality processes in the world and enjoy access to opportunities that took lifetimes to build.”

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

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