The Craft Brew Alliance marked its 10th anniversary this summer. It also delivered its best quarterly performance in the company’s history, riding the wave of its Kona Plus strategy. Looking to further explore topline growth, CBA announced last week that it is “cementing its strategic brewing and distribution partnerships” with three breweries: Appalachian Mountain Brewery, Cisco Brewers and Wynwood Brewing Co. It was doing this through three separate purchase agreements, which would total around $45 million.
In case you’ve forgotten: CBA is a beer, cider and beverage rollup, and its portfolio includes Kona Brewing Co., Omission Brewing Co., Redhook Brewery, Square Mile Cider Co. and Widmer Brothers Brewing. Anheuser-Busch InBev owns nearly a third of CBA, and both companies brew beer for each other among a variety of other business and distribution synergies. Officially launched in 2015, CBA has also implemented a “craft partner strategy,” which is different for each partner but includes distribution, contract brewing, equity purchases and beyond. Two of these partners came about because of CBA’s partnership with the trade publication Brewbound. CBA’s relationship with both Appalachian Mountain and Wynwood Brewing can be traced back to the Brewbound Startup Brewery Challenge, a CBA-sponsored beer and business competition hosted by Brewbound. Read more about these craft partner histories right over here.
The terms of each purchase agreement are unique. From the press release:
“We are thrilled to welcome AMB, Cisco, and Wynwood fully into the CBA family,” said CBA CEO Andy Thomas. “From the beginning we knew that our shared values and complementary interests gave us a platform to grow together. Over the past few years, as we’ve gotten to know each of these exceptional breweries and their passionate teams, it became increasingly clear that the future would be brighter for all of us working together as one. In addition to Kona and the rest of the CBA portfolio, Cisco, AMB and Wynwood will all play an important role as CBA focuses on sustainable topline growth for the future.”
Highlights from the deals
- CBA began expanding Appalachian Mountain’s portfolio into South Carolina and Tennessee earlier this year.
- CBA has supported Appalachian Mountain’s focus on philanthropy, contributing to We Can So You Can, a non-profit foundation started by Appalachian Mountain, donating proceeds from every case of the brewery’s flagship Longleaf IPA toward reforestation efforts with the Longleaf Alliance.
- Under the purchase agreement with Appalachian Mountain, CBA will acquire the Appalachian Mountain brand, brewery and pub.
- CBA and Cisco Brewers entered into a strategic brewing and distribution partnership in December 2015.
- Earlier this year, CBA spearheaded the launch of Cisco’s newest year-round beer, Gripah, a refreshing grapefruit IPA, that is the No. 4 new IPA as measured by Nielsen Boston Liquor.
- This summer, the Cisco team helped rebrand CBA’s Portsmouth pub, bringing a slice of its renowned Nantucket experience to the New England mainland, and opened a new outdoor pop-up pub in Boston’s Seaport neighborhood.
- CBA will own the Cisco Brewers’ brand and beer business, while the Cisco founders will continue to own and operate the Cisco Brewers brewpub properties and retail merchandising, including the original brewery and grounds in Nantucket.
- CBA and Wynwood Brewing announced a strategic partnership in December 2016, which included CBA taking a 24.5 percent minority investment in the award-winning Miami-based craft brewery.
- Under CBA’s agreement with Wynwood Brewing, it purchased the remaining 75.5 percent interest in the brewery, which will become a wholly owned subsidiary of CBA.
- Wynwood Brewing Cofounders Luis and his father “Pops” Brignoni will continue to lead Wynwood’s operations autonomously.