MillerCoors Acquires Majority Stake in Terrapin Beer Company


MillerCoors today announced that Tenth and Blake Beer Company, its craft beer and import division, has reached an agreement to acquire a majority stake in Terrapin Beer Company.

The purchase builds on a pre-existing relationship between the two companies: MillerCoors, via Tenth and Blake, had previously acquired a minority (less than 25 percent) stake in the Athens, GA-based craft brewery in early 2012.

Specific financial terms were not disclosed and the transaction is expected to close in August, MillerCoors said.

“With Tenth and Blake’s dedication to helping us grow and their passion for creating high-quality craft beers, we knew it would be the perfect partnership,” Terrapin co-founder Brian “Spike” Buckowski said via a press release. “We look forward to continuing to create innovative beers to share with beer lovers nationwide.”

In a note to partners, Scott Whitley, the president and CEO of Tenth and Blake, described the Terrapin acquisition as “an important regional play for Tenth and Blake as the Southeast is an underdeveloped craft market with significant growth potential.”

Tenth and Blake CEO Scott Whitley

“Terrapin is a highly regarded brewer, both in the Southeast and nationwide,” he wrote. “Its iconic and acclaimed IPAs are the centerpiece of Terrapin’s award-winning portfolio. This partnership will help broaden our expertise and presence within these popular styles.”

Founded in 2002, Terrapin is perhaps best known for its Rye Pale Ale, RecreationAle and Hopsecutioner IPA offerings. The company has grown considerably in the last five years — from just 19,500 barrels in 2011 to more than 57,000 in 2015 – and currently employs more than 120.

Whitley also noted that Terrapin co-founder John Cochran would depart the organization to pursue a “new opportunity.” Current chief financial officer Frank Skorzewski will replace Cochran as president, Whitley said.

Other management changes as outlined by Whitley include:

  • Co-founder Brian “Spike” Buckowski, will “remain on Terrapin’s leadership team as the VP of brewing development.”
  • Terrapin’s Dustin Watts will continue in his role as the VP of sales and marketing.
  • Brian Hollinger, Terrapin’s VP of operations, will also depart the company to pursue another opportunity.

Situated in an 84,000 sq. ft. warehouse, Terrapin currently operates on a 100-barrel brewhouse. In a press release, Millercoors said it plans to maintain production at the Athens facility, where the smaller company’s management and team will “continue to create, brew, package, ship and sell Terrapin’s acclaimed portfolio of brands.”

“The team at Terrapin is so passionate and committed to brewing such terrific beers that we are thrilled to welcome them deeper into the Tenth and Blake family,” Whitley said via the release. “As owners, our job is to work collaboratively with their team to support their continued success with their innovative, award-winning beers that complement our portfolio perfectly.”

In addition to the Blue Moon and Leinenkugel craft brands, Tenth and Blake also purchased a majority stake in San Diego’s Saint Archer Brewing Company last September. 10th Street Brewery in Milwaukee, AC Golden in Golden, Colo., Birra Peroni in Rome and Pilsner Urquell in Pilsen, Czech Republic are also part of the division.

First Beverage Group acted as financial advisor to Terrapin, and Spencer Fane LLP provided legal counsel. King & Spalding LLP provided legal counsel to MillerCoors.

Additional information is available in the release. Stay tuned for additional information as it rolls in.