Jim Dykstra's picture

Lagunitas Buys Stake in Three Regional Companies

Lagunitas Equity Stake

The evolution of Lagunitas, from outspoken independent craft stalwart to its current role as an international player under the Heineken umbrella, will continue as news arrives that the company has purchased stakes in three strategically located regional breweries: Charleston's Southend Brewery and Smokehouse, which will be rebranded as a Lagunitas brewpub, Santa Rosa, California-based Moonlight Brewing Co., a small Bay Area brewery verging on its 25th birthday, and Austin-based Independence Brewing.

Though details of the equity stakes weren't released, they will all be held under a new LLC titled Lagunitas U.S. Holdings, or LUSH. Though Heineken now owns 50 percent of Lagunitas, founder Tony Magee has stated that these actions came independently from within Lagunitas, the sixth-largest craft brewer of 2015.

In addition, the company has announced it will open spaces in Portland and San Diego to be used exclusively for nonprofit fundraising. Lagunitas will provide the space, staff and beer for free, as it does in its Chicago and Petaluma taprooms.

Though some will inevitably cry foul, Magee cites the changes as necessary evolution of the ever-changing marketplace, and acknowledged the acquisitions by saying that "craft brewing has never been about anything but making relationships." 

Magee went on to say that he plans to continue expansion into local breweries, and emphasizing that the deals are partnerships, rather than full-on takeovers.