Almost a month ago, we reported that Brooklyn Brewery and Kirin Holdings Co. in Japan seemed to be working on something big (like Kaijū big). Well that something is bigger than we thought. According to BloombergMarkets, Kirin and Brooklyn Brewery will definitely be rolling out a joint venture in Japan in January 2017 (now with plans to expand to Brazil). On top of that, Brooklyn Brewery will issue new shares to Kirin Brewery Co., giving the Japanese brewing roll-up a stake of about 25 percent in the Brooklyn-based craft brewer.
Kirin has been pursuing the craft beer market pretty hard for a few years now. Check out this accompanying article — it’s an overview of how Kirin sees craft as a way to bolster the sliding sales of its traditional beer offerings. From the Bloomberg article:
“Brooklyn Brewery is a strong brewer in the U.S. and Kirin is a company that has cash to spend,” Tony Bucalo, an analyst at HSBC, said by phone. “American craft is one of the hottest categories in beverage alcohol and Kirin’s buying into a successful and well-managed partner on the ground.”
The Brooklyn deal would follow Kirin’s purchase of a 33 percent stake in Japanese craft label Yo-Ho Brewing Co. in 2014. To draw patrons of specialty beers, Kirin opened two brewpubs last year where beer is brewed on site.
Brooklyn Brewery is definitely making some power moves right now. For over a decade, NYC’s famous brand has been building a budding partnership in the world of beer with Carlsberg too. In 2015, Brooklyn teamed up with Carlsberg to open Nya Carnegiebryggeriet in Stockholm, Sweden. In April of this year, it announced that it was welcoming E.C. Dahls Brewery in Trondheim, Norway, into the Brooklyn Brewery Carlsberg family. Now, Carlsberg will be distributing Brooklyn’s impressive craft selection in the United Kingdom.
Brooklyn is going global with some big money backers and some famous international beer brands, but the company still aims to stay craft — at least by the Brewers Association’s definition. According to a blog post released this morning by Robin Ottaway, president of Brooklyn Brewery.
Earlier today in Japan, we announced that Kirin Brewery will be making a minority equity investment in Brooklyn Brewery. This investment allows Steve, Garrett Oliver, Eric and me to achieve our #1 goal- to remain an independent owned and operated brewery (as defined by the Brewers Association).
What will we do with our new resources? In short, we’ll continue to reinvest in Brooklyn Brewery. We intend to continue our global expansion and affirm our position as a leading global craft brewer. While keeping our current brewery in Williamsburg, we are building our new global headquarters in the Brooklyn Navy Yard with a 600-person capacity rooftop beer garden. We intend to build another bigger brewery that will enable us to brew 100% of the beer we sell domestically in-house. We intend to build on a strategy that takes Brooklyn Brewery to a fully national brand with a top-class sales and marketing team supporting our distributors. We are busy developing our vision for a Brooklyn bar, initially aimed to be located overseas. And we will continue to promote craft beer globally through our joint-venture brewery partnerships in Sweden and Norway, and soon-to-be Korea. It’s an exciting time to be a craft brewer, and I’m proud to say that our beers are better than they’ve ever been and we remain at the cutting edge of craft brewing in everything we do.
But let me be entirely clear — Eric and I will continue to control and operate the Brooklyn Brewery for many years to come. Kirin’s investment allows us to do that and a lot more. So on behalf of our 150+ employees, soon to be growing, we welcome Kirin to the Brooklyn Brewery family and look forward to our journey together.