2015 went down in craft beer history as the year everyone sold off their records and comic books in order to get serious and put some money in a Roth IRA. It was time for the nascent to mature. A handful of craft brewers under the BA definition, some big, some small, were acquired by MillerCoors, AB InBev (a.k.a Beer Voltron) and others to change the game for themselves and the industry. We covered a lot of them here.
This is still happening in 2016 because the money tree is still bearing fruit, but 2016, so far, belongs to the craft brewer acquisition. We point you to Victory and Southern Tier, which formed Artisanal Brewing Ventures. Wisconsin-based Sand Creek Brewing Co. got in on the action. And of course there is Stone just not giving an F about any of this.
Now it is Oskar Blues Brewery’s turn. Again. You may recall Oskar Blues completing a private equity deal last year, which helped it acquire Perrin Brewing. We knew there were would be more coming from the craft canning pioneer, and here it is: Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing. Terms of the acquisition are not disclosed.
Cigar City was long rumored to be in the cross hairs of Beer Voltron, but, according to the “joint” press release from the companies titled “Oskar Blues Brewery Rolls up a Cigar City Blunt,” this decision was driven by mutual irreverence, respect and desire to stay true to craft beer roots. We’ll cheers to that. Oskar Blues, Perrin, Cigar City and Utah Brewers can all be found under the name United Craft Brews LLC.
This collaboration will match the years of large-scale growth, expansion expertise and resources of Oskar Blues with the strength of Cigar City’s local following to help both breweries strengthen their future position.
“Cigar City is facing next-level challenges, and we needed to develop next-level skills and resources to meet them,” said Joey Redner, founder of Cigar City Brewing. “But, we got into beer out of passion and an unwavering desire to travel our own path. We didn’t want to just shove our round peg into some fucking square hole and hope for the best. Florida craft beer drinkers want something they can proudly stand behind. These guys get that. They wrote the book on keeping it real.”
Redner will remain as CEO of Cigar City following the transaction.
Since 2009, Cigar City Brewing has achieved a near constant growth pattern reaching nearly 60,000 barrels in 2015, placing the Tampa Bay area and the state of Florida on the craft beer map. The partnership will provide additional investment for Cigar City’s infrastructure growth within Florida.
“What Cigar City has done for the community of Florida craft beer is impressive. It’s important for our culture to do business with people we want to hang out with and Joey and the gang fit,” Dale Katechis, Soul Founder of Oskar Blues, stated about the new partnership.
Oskar Blues Brewery is the funky brewpub that started brewing beer in 1999 in the small town of Lyons, Colo., and is responsible for starting the craft beer-in-a-can movement in 2002 with Dale’s Pale Ale. In 2008, the brewery expanded down the street to Longmont, Colo. and added an additional brewery in Brevard, N.C., in 2012. Oskar Blues brewed 192,000 barrels in 2015 and announced another brewery in Austin, Texas, scheduled to open in May of 2016.
Seriously, Oskar Blues is always doing something. If you don’t believe me, check our archives.