Another craft beer power couple has hit the industry dance floor: Duvel Moortgat and Firestone Walker Brewing Co. According to the press release, Firestone will continue to operate independently in Paso Robles, Calif., under its current leadership of David Walker and Adam Firestone.
No financial details have been disclosed, but at No. 16 on the BA top 50 craft brewers list for 2014 (208,000 bbls, 80 percent of which is still consumed in California) this is another sizable feather in the cap of Duvel, which also acquired a stake in Boulevard Brewing in 2013.
In a note on their brewery’s website, Firestone and Walker said that during their nearly 20-year journey they built Firestone Walker “in a conservative manner, reinvesting every penny in quality and infrastructure.” But the question for them, like many breweries these days nearing this size: Where to next?
The riddle for us lately has been how to maintain these founding traits while serving a growing demand for our beers. It became increasingly clear that we needed a partner and brewer to solve this problem, and to secure our brewing legacy for the future. But we held off, searching for the right match, specifically one with similar values, culture and independence.
Duvel Moortgat’s investment in us is an elegant solution that will enable us to grow within a framework that meets our standards — all without losing focus on the traits that got us here.
Men’s Journal posted a nice little Q&A with Walker for a few more details on how this deal is structured and how the infusion of capital will be used for ongoing expansion:
Who technically owns Firestone now?
Brewers! Control and the ability to manage our future was paramount, and this was woven into their investment. We’re teaming up with Duvel to help us continue what we started 20 years ago. They are also craft brewers with insane respect for what we as brewers do. Steven Pauwels of Boulevard and Hedwig Neven of Duvel are highly respected and traditional. They see our brewing team as peers and colleagues and we all hope to exchange ideas and elevate everyone in the family.
Is this partnership similar to that of Duvel buying Boulevard in 2013?
Not really. Boulevards ownership was looking to carefully retire. We are just getting started.
He also mentioned future plans for further European expansion.
“The most important thing that we can do for Firestone Walker is to help David and Adam manage the exponential growth that their team and their brewery is experiencing right now by providing financial and production capacity to support them,” said Simon Thorpe, president of Duvel Moortgat USA. “We are not integrating our organizations. Both Boulevard and Ommegang are also enjoying tremendous success and we still have much to do in realizing our dream for both these breweries.”
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