Heineken Acquires 50 Percent Stake In Craft Brewer Lagunitas

By Kate Shepherd in Food on Sep 8, 2015 8:10PM

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Chuck Sudo/Chicagoist

Craft brewery Lagunitas is planning a major worldwide expansion via Heineken. The Petaluma, Ca.-based company, which has a huge brewery in the Lawndale neighborhood, announced a partnership with the world's third largest beer company Heineken on Tuesday.

In the deal, Heineken will acquire a 50 percent stake in Lagunitas. In return, Lagunitas gets the support of Heineken's global production and distribution network and an undisclosed amount of money, the Petaluma Press-Democrat reported.

Lagunitas was likely valued at around $1 billion in the deal, according to the Press-Democrat.

Tony Magee, Lagunitas' founder and owner, denied that he's selling out his ideals and the deal allows him to share his beer with the world. The quality of beer won't decrease and the company's soul will remain untouched, he claimed.

"I would be very upset if people led to assumptions that this is a moment of cashing out or selling out; this thing that people had loved was somehow sold to the highest bidder," he told the Press-Democrat. "I want to be doing something exciting now with my company. What thrills me? The idea of taking this name Lagunitas, the flavors of the IPA and our other beers, and presenting them to other communities around the world. That's exciting."

The acquisition and partnership is part of a larger trend of the old-school beer companies buying up the cooler, smaller craft breweries favored by Millennials.

In 2011, Anheuser-Busch InBev bought Chicago-based Goose Island for $38.8 million which allowed Goose Island to expand its reach by using the company's huge distribution network. Anheuser-Busch InBev also bought Oregon's 10 Barrel Brewing Co. in 2014 which angered some of the craft beer's fans.