According to unnamed sources, New Belgium Brewing is working with New York based firm. Lazard Middle Market to locate a buyer. Some sources believe the sale would be around $1 billion. New Belgium is a brewery in transition. In October, CEO Kim Jordan stepped down and was replaced by Christine Perich. They are also nearing completion of their first east coast brewery.
When asked about the sale, Jordan said there are no sales pending
New Belgium Brewing’s Board of Directors has an obligation to have ongoing dialogue with the capital markets with the goal of making sure that we remain strong as leaders in the craft brewing industry. There is no deal pending at this time.
New CEO Perich stated
Kim has established a foundation that has led to 24 years of success. We won’t be changing who we are. We look forward to becoming a national brand and helping to shape the craft beer scene for years to come.
With the expansion of the company and the opening of a new brewery on the east coast the news that the brewery’s sales of core brands has slowed is unfortunate timing. Their core brands of Fat Tire and Ranger IPA are showing slowed growth across the board
Sales have taken a hit as a result. Fat Tire and Ranger IPA are down 1.4 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively, for the year-to-date period ending Nov. 29, according to IRI.
It will be interesting to see what comes of this. New Belgium is another in a recent slew of craft brewery sales, including Lagunitas, Firestone Walker, 10 Barrel, Elysian and many more. Keep in mind that there is a large difference between finding an equity investor like Dogfish Head recently did, and the selling of an entire company, which would risk losing creative control. Looking for equity to make large moves in the market is standard and has been done for years. Equity firms offer assistance for breweries that are expanding extremely fast and need the financial backing to maintain and help with that expansion.
Kim Jordan has publicly stated that the brewery plans to make New Belgium a national brand by the end of 2017. They are also entering two new markets in the first part of 2016. All of this while ramping up production is a huge undertaking.
The real concern from the craft brewing world should really be distribution. AB InBev has made massive inroads to controlling who gets what beer. Setting up regulations or developing enterprises to combat this is very important.