For the Craft Brew Alliance, 2019 will mostly be remembered as the year it was fully acquired by its long-term partner Anheuser-Busch, but it was also another huge year for its top brand Kona Brewing, according to financial results for the full year and fourth quarter ended December 31, 2019. The deal with A-B serving as a mission accomplished banner of sorts for CBA’s Kona-plus strategy, which bolstered the group’s financials in the years leading to the acquisition.
“To say that 2019 was historic for CBA is an understatement,” said Andy Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, Craft Brew Alliance. “We grew Kona’s domestic depletions by a strong 5%, despite unprecedented market conditions where increased competition from hard seltzers further fragmented the consumer landscape. Within that market, Kona Big Wave performed exceptionally well, delivering double-digit growth in both the off-premise and on-premise channels. Looking ahead, we are excited to expand the Kona portfolio with two new offerings, Kona Light and Kona Island Seltzers, both of which are poised to gain strong momentum as they expand nationally in 2020.”
“The proposed agreement we reached with A-B in 2019 builds on one of the most distinctive partnerships in our industry and will drive significant value for our shareholders, who voted overwhelmingly in support of the combination earlier this year,” said Christine Perich, Chief Financial and Strategy Officer.
In light of the pending combination with A-B, CBA is suspending the practice of holding earnings conference calls and providing forward-looking guidance. As previously disclosed, the transaction, which has been approved by shareholders, is expected to close in 2020, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including receipt of requisite regulatory approvals.