Columbia Distributing Expands to California with Acquisition of Mesa Beverage


The prominent Pacific Northwest beverage wholesaler Columbia Distributing will expand into California with the acquisition of Mesa Beverage Co., the company announced Friday.

Columbia, which, although based in Portland, Ore. is owned by San Francisco family office The Meritage Group, said it would purchase all assets of the 4-million case Santa Rosa, Calif. wholesaler.

“This is a significant milestone in our company’s 80-year history,” Gregg Christiansen, the company’s CEO and chairman said in a press release. “Our supplier partners are excited. We have the right scale, right people and right knowledge to master the complexity of our growing business.”

Specific terms of the transaction were not disclosed; the deal is expected to close on October 31, the company said.

Columbia said it was “amplifying” its relationship with Mesa owner Ron Fowler who, at one time, owned part of Columbia Distributing. Fowler is also a part-owner of Wisconsin’s Beer Capitol Distributing and the San Diego Padres, where he serves as executive chairman.

“Ron has served as a member of Columbia’s Board of Directors for over 20 years and was a former company owner,” Christiansen said in the release. “He will be re-investing a portion of the sale’s proceeds into Columbia to once again become part of the ownership team.”

Once the deal is finalized, Mesa Beverage will be rebranded as Columbia Distributing of Santa Rosa, a company spokeswoman told Brewbound.

Mesa currently sells products from more than 30 international and domestic alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage suppliers. Columbia and Mesa Beverage have nearly identical product portfolios – both companies distribute brands from MillerCoors, Heineken, Boston Beer Company, Sierra Nevada, New Belgium and the red hot Lagunitas Brewing, among others.

Columbia Distributing currently sells about 35 million cases of beer annually to more than 20,000 retail accounts in Oregon and Washington. The company also employs more than 2,600 individuals across both states.