I’ve gotten more emails from Funky Buddha Brewery in the last two weeks than in the last two years, and they contain a lot of big news. The Oakland Park, Fla.-based brewhouse (that’s the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach area) was bought by Constellations Brands in August of last year. Constellation is a transnational beverage corporation with more than 100 brands, selling spirits (like Black Velvet and SVEDKA Vodka), wine (such as Ravens Wood and Wild Irish Rose) and soon pot (it just bought a 9.9 percent stake in Canopy Growth, one of the largest growers of marijuana in the world, based in Canada, and has plans for pot drinks).
Constellation also makes lots of beer. In fact, the company owns Ballast Point Brewing Co., has commercial rights to Crown Imports brands like Corona, Modelo and Pacífico in the United States (AB InBev owns them everywhere else) and as we mentioned added Funky Buddha to its portfolio last year. The company is infamous for buying Ballast Point for $1 billion at the height of craft mania in 2015 (consider AB InBev bought Goose Island in 2011 for a paltry $38.8 million), but the company is killing it right now. The stock (STZ) is up 41 percent year-to-date, which is more than double the return of the S&P 500. It’s been riding high for decades. I quote Investorplace.com:
In fact, if you had invested $10,000 into STZ back in December 1990, that investment would now be worth over $4 million. That’s almost a 40,000% return in 27 years.
Funky Buddha is now positioned to leverage the impressive beverage resources of Constellation. It’s announced its new release schedule (below) and given some insight on everything going down in 2018. This long-awaited lineup will include new packaging, new cans, new year-round beer to add to the brewery’s ever-growing portfolio and a whole year’s worth of new limited and seasonal beers hitting package for the first time. Ballast Point is there to help.
According to Brewbound, the majority of Funky Buddha’s can volume will come from Ballast Point’s Virginia brewery, located in Daleville. All of Funky Buddha’s core brands will be the first to arrive in 12-ounce six- and 12-pack cans starting in February. Later, 16-ounce cans will arrive for Hop Gun IPA and Floridian Hefeweizen shortly after. That’s just the start of the resources Funky Buddha will enjoy. According to Brewbound:
Another benefit from Funky Buddha’s sale to Constellation Brands will be added sales support. Linn said part of Funky Buddha’s sales team has merged with Ballast Point’s southeast sales force, and are now part of Constellation Brands’ Craft & Specialty Division. The more than 15-member team will work this year to deepen the company’s reach in Florida while also helping it expand over the next two months to Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Funky Buddha will also add a new core brand — Vibin’ IPA. This India pale ale is 5.8 percent with vibrant layers of tropical flavor and aroma from loads of late-addition Citra and Mosaic hops. It will debut in March in 12-ounce cans and bottles. The company’s “Limited Core” is composed of two biannual releases: No Crusts Peanut Butter and Jelly Brown Ale and Last Snow Coconut and Coffee Porter. Each beer will now be released twice a year in four-pack, 12-ounce bottles and draft.
There’s lot more here. The Goodness Series is a completely new lineup of seasonal release beers. This new series will include a few, new experiment beers along with a couple highly-acclaimed favorites. Each beer will be released in three-month intervals in four-pack, 12-ounce bottles and draft. The Little Buddha Small Batch Series returns this year with three returning favorites and three brand new beers. Each beer will be available in 22-ounce bottles and draft. The Living Barrel Series is back. Funky Buddha has expanded its barrel-aging program to include a multitude of unique wine and spirits casks including whiskey, rum, tequila, Cabernet and more. Each barrel-aged beer will be released in 22-ounce bottles and draft. The first two of these releases will see a larger release to distribution for the first time, while its Last Buffalo and Morning Wood will end out the year.
In conclusion, it looks like Funky Buddha is ramping up to become a major brand in the overall American craft beer scene and beyond — regardless of how you define craft.