Craft beer wholesaler Cavalier Distributing has acquired the distribution rights to “all suppliers” within the portfolio of Florida-based Micro Man Distributors.
According to a letter sent by Cavalier founder and president George Fisher, that was addressed to its Florida beer suppliers, the transaction closed on Monday, October 22. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Cavalier believes that these acquisitions will enhance our entire portfolio and continue to elevate better beer throughout Florida, and in turn, create additional opportunities for long-term growth for you and the category,” he wrote.
“We look forward to a smooth transition for the customers and suppliers,” Fisher added in his letter.
Micro Man, an independent craft and import beer wholesaler based in Oldsmar, did not return a request for comment.
Cavalier spokeswoman Amy Browns Taylor confirmed to Brewbound that the company began selling the former Micro Man portfolio of brands on October 22. She declined to provide a list of suppliers, however, multiple former Micro Man beer brands told Brewbound that list includes 81 Bay Brew Co. (Tampa, Florida), Green Man (Asheville, North Carolina), Bear Republic (Cloverdale, California), Lost Coast (Eureka, California), Thomas Creek (Greenville, South Carolina), Hop Life (Port St. Lucie, Florida) and Weyerbacher (Easton, Pennsylvania), among others.
Micro Man also sold numerous Belgian and German import labels.
Cavalier’s acquisition of the Micro Man portfolio comes as an increasing number of larger distribution companies have consolidated operations in recent years. About 20 wholesalers have consolidated in 2018, according to National Beer Wholesalers Association chief economist Lester Jones. During the California Craft Brewers Association’s Craft Beer Summit in September, Arlington Capital Partners director J.B. Shireman said 42 wholesalers had consolidated during a period dating back to mid-2016.
Cavalier — which has distribution outposts in Ohio and Indiana — operates its Florida distribution services out of locations in Lakeland and Miami. Cavalier’s Florida portfolio includes a number of popular craft beer brands such as Stone Brewing, Left Hand Brewing, Bell’s Brewery, and J. Wakefield, among others.
Brewbound spoke to several beer suppliers whose brands were acquired in the deal, and they expressed excitement about the who the prospect of working with Cavalier.
Weyerbacher chief operating officer Josh Lampe told Brewbound that Micro Man had sold the Pennsylvania craft brewery’s beer for about a decade, but sales had dropped off in the last couple of years. At its peak, Florida was a top three state state for the company, and Lampe said he believes Cavalier could help the brewery reaccelerate sales down south.
Meanwhile, 81 Bay Brew Co. president Michael Beard told Brewbound that Cavalier is “a fantastic fit” for the Tampa-based craft brewery. After two years of selling beer through Micro Man, 81 Bay is positioned better and will be “getting in their focus for getting on a lot of taps.”
“We’ve been growing our distribution something like 70 percent year-over-year for the past two years, so it was a matter of time before we started to outgrow Micro Man in the first place,” he added. “Right now, we’re putting anywhere between 20 and 40 barrels through distribution [a week].”
According to Beard, Micro Man had been rumored to be shopping its brand rights for about eight months after losing the right to distribute international brands such as Delirium and Hofbraü.
“They had started downsizing their sales force,” he added. “I was acutely aware of that because those are the people who sell my beer.”
According to another source, who asked not to be named, Micro Man laid off its entire staff of about 50 people.