Taking Names: Multi-Brewery Deals Create Confusion

From All About Beer Magazine, by Jason Notte

Photo Courtesy Brooklyn Brewery

When Microsoft bought LinkedIn last year, the tech giant didn’t disguise itself as Pa Gates’ Craft Technology Works. When Amazon bought Whole Foods this year, it didn’t create a South Lake Union Organics holding company to do so.

So why do brewers keep filtering their craft beer acquisitions through smaller, friendlier faces?

That question came up when Lagunitas U.S. Holdings bought a 19.9 percent stake in Short’s Brewing Co. last July. After all, Heineken bought a 50 percent stake in Lagunitas Brewing Co. in 2015, which allowed Lagunitas to buy stakes in Independence Brewing, Moonlight Brewing and Southend Brewery and Smokehouse. In May, however, Heineken bought the rest of Lagunitas. Now those breweries are at least partly Heineken-owned, right?

Well, Joe Short—who founded Short’s in 2004—told Good Beer Hunting that he isn’t sure “how it works with Heineken buying Lagunitas.” While Heineken’s corporate offices wouldn’t comment, Heineken U.S. chief marketing officer Nuno Teles offers some insight.

“The way we operate is as two separate entities,” he says. “We do have collaboration and we do have strategic partnership, but we do believe it is important to keep the two organizations operating in an independent way.”

More on this story here >>
 

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