We have some late breaking news coming out of California tonight.
Firestone Walker and Duvel Moortgat have agreed to “combine their two companies” in the USA, according to a press release. Specific financial details were not disclosed.
In a note posted to its website, Firestone Walker founders David Walker and Adam Firestone described Duvel Moortgat’s investment in the company as a “partnership,” and a “elegant solution that will enable us to grow within a framework that meets our standards.”
Firestone Walker will continue to operate independently in Paso Robles under its current leadership of David Walker and Adam Firestone, the company said in the statement.
In a note sent to its distributor partners, Duvel Moortgat said there are no current plans to adjust the two companies’ respective wholesale networks.
“While there is some overlap in our distribution partnerships, the Firestone Walker sales team will remain separate from the Duvel USA organization and we have no intention of changing our respective wholesaler networks in the foreseeable future,” Simon Thorpe, the CEO of Duvel Moortgat USA said in the note.
So what could a deal like this be worth? Although specific terms of the transaction have not been disclosed, Duvel Moortgat has already acquired one prominent top-50 U.S. craft brewery. In October 2013, the Belgium-based company purchased Kansas City’s Boulevard Brewing in a deal that multiple industry sources valued at about $100 million. That same year, Boulevard made more than 187,000 barrels of beer. Firestone Walker is similar in size. The company sold 208,000 barrels of beer in 2014, according to the Brewers Association.
At the 2014 Brewbound Session, held last December in San Diego, David Walker spoke (video below) about the flurry of deals and M&A activity in craft.
“I think without question you will see consolidation,” he said at the time.
“It is somewhat naive to think that the craft brewing community is going to defy gravity of economics, but on the other hand, it will delay it. Everyone here loves what they do,” he added.
Additional details surrounding tonight’s announcement are included in the press release below. Brewbound will continue to follow this story as it develops.
July 16, 2015 – Kansas City, Mo., & Paso Robles, Ca. – In an agreement signed earlier this week, Firestone Walker Brewing Company and Duvel Moortgat will combine their two companies in the USA. The California brewery will continue to operate independently in Paso Robles under its current leadership of David Walker and Adam Firestone.
David Walker and Adam Firestone, joint founders of Firestone Walker said: “The Firestone Walker and Duvel Moortgat families have combined forces to broaden their capacity and scope as brewers. Long admirers of each other’s beers, culture and breweries, the two teams saw the perfect fit for an alliance. The partnership will allow Firestone Walker to develop our capacity across the US in a conservative and thoughtful way by consummating a life long tie with this family-owned international craft brewer, who continue their commitment to participating in the American Craft Revolution.”
“The relationship I have built with David and Adam made Firestone Walker the perfect fit for future growth,” said Michel Moortgat, CEO of Duvel Moortgat. “We share the same values; have a great mutual respect for each other’s achievements and a deeply-held belief in exceptional quality as a platform for long-term success. Bringing Firestone Walker together with Boulevard, Ommegang, Duvel and the other craft breweries in our family creates a stronger platform in the USA for us both and allows us to collaborate on brewing in different locations across the USA”
“The most important thing that we can do for Firestone Walker is to help David and Adam manage the exponential growth that their team and their brewery is experiencing right now by providing financial and production capacity to support them,” said Simon Thorpe, President of Duvel Moortgat USA. “We are not integrating our organizations. Both Boulevard and Ommegang are also enjoying tremendous success and we still have much to do in realizing our dream for both these breweries.”
The transaction between Duvel Moortgat and Firestone Walker is expected to close later this year. It is an agreement between two private, family-owned companies, so no financial or contractual details will be disclosed.
About Firestone Walker Brewing Company:
Founded in 1996, Firestone Walker Brewing Company has grown to become one of the largest specialty brewers in California. Located in Paso Robles, it is known for crafting iconic pale ales and pioneering barrel-aged beers. Everything it does revolves around one goal; to make the world’s best beers. Firestone Walker distributes in 21 states. For more information, visit firestonebeer.com,facebook/firestone.walker or twitter.com/FirestoneWalker.
About Duvel Moortgat:
The Duvel Moortgat group, founded in Belgium in 1871, is an independent brewer of authentic specialty and craft beers. Around the world, the group is considered to be the leading producer of bottle-conditioned, high-fermentation beers, a reputation owed largely to the success of its best-selling brand Duvel.
In the USA, Duvel Moortgat continues our belief in independent, family owned craft brewing and includes Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City MO and Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown NY. The company also imports its European craft brands including Duvel, Chouffe, Maredsous, De Koninck and Liefmans.
Please see our web site for further information: www.duvelusa.com.
First Beverage Group acted as financial advisor to Firestone Walker, and Spencer Fane Britt & Browne provided legal counsel. ING acted as financial advisor to Duvel Moortgat, and McDermott Will & Emery provided legal counsel.