Archive for July, 2010
I just came across some interesting news by way of Beernews.org that the Magic Hat and Pyramid Breweries are being sold! The buyer appears to be North American Breweries, makers of Labatt Blue, Dundee, Genesee, and the like. Check out the press release through the Beernews.org link for the specifics.
My initial reaction to all such conglomeration is hysterical fits of worry. Perhaps it is a sign of being over 30 and that I am slowly becoming resistant to any-and-all change. Perhaps it is a knee jerk reaction assuming that quality suffers as companies swallow one another, morphing into larger and larger beings. Perhaps it is gas.
Or, maybe it is nostalgia. Magic Hat’s Fat Angel, a now retired beer, was one of the first beers to turn me on to ‘better beer’. I hardly thought of it at the time, but it was most likely the first ale I’d ever imbibed outside of a stout.
Magic Hat makes some good brews (and a few clunkers. I am looking at you, Wacko). I believe that it has been their willingness to take risks that has allowed them to find a niche in the beer market. It is probably a smart move on the part of North American Breweries to pick up these brands, particularly since IBU inc., the cleverly named partnership between Magic Hat and Pyramid, ranks “as the eighth largest entity among all regional breweries (craft or non-craft)…[making] up 3.8% of all craft beer sales last year.” (Brewnews.org) Not too shabby. Let’s just hope North American Breweries has the good sense to allow them the independence they need to continue doing what made worth buying to begin with.
I am interested to see how this all plays out and will hold any actual judgment. For anyone interested in following the money – North American Breweries is a subsidiary of KPS Capital Partners, a “private equity firm focused on control investments in middle-market companies through special situations transactions such as turnarounds, restructurings, bankruptcies, and corporate divestitures.”