Last Call: Innis & Gunn Receives US Private Equity Interest; A-B Shifts Focus Away From Acquisitions

U.S. Private Equity Firm Offers $19 Million for Innis & Gunn Minority Stake

Connecticut-headquartered private equity firm L Catterton is offering more than $19 million to acquire a minority stake in Innis & Gunn, according to the Telegraph.

The Scottish craft brewery’s founder, Dougal Gunn Sharp, made a recommendation to shareholders to accept the bid for 27.9 percent of the company, which puts the valuation at more than $71 million. Sharp would retain the majority of the company’s shares.

Sharp, who has been negotiating with L Catterton since February, reportedly called the deal a “win-win” due to the firm’s ties to casual-dining companies Punch Bowl Social and Velvet Taco, which he said could “provide a route to market for our beers.”

A-B High End Chief: Focus Shifts to Organic Growth, Not Acquisitions

Anheuser-Busch InBev laid off hundreds of employees across the country on Thursday as part of a restructuring of its sales force, eliminating jobs primarily in the company’s High End division dedicated to craft and import brands.

Potentially foreshadowing a new reality post-layoffs, High End president Felipe Szpigel told Forbes on Wednesday that A-B is turning its focus away from acquisitions and would instead build brands organically, such as the Vesa Sur brewpub collaboration between High End brand 10 Barrel Brewing and Colombia’s Bogota Beer Company in Miami.

“Our plate’s full,” Szpigel told the the outlet. “We have 10 amazing craft partners. Our focus is going to be organic.”

Read more here.

Diageo Taps A-B for Guinness Distribution in China

Spirits producer Diageo has named A-B InBev the exclusive wholesale partner for Guinness beer on the Chinese mainland, according to China Daily.

“China is the single largest alcohol beverage market in the world and the beer category is rapidly premiumizing,” Diageo’s managing director of China operation Chun Ho Chu told the outlet. “We would like to fully tap the growth potential of Guinness as a premium product.”

The two alcoholic beverage giants agreed to a 5-year deal that reportedly covers both on- and off-premise channels. Both companies reportedly expect sales volume to increase 100 percent to 2 million liters within a year.

C&C Acquires 47 Percent Stake in Admiral Taverns

In a partnership with U.S.-based real estate fund manager Proprium Capital Partners, Irish alcoholic beverage company C&C has acquired a 47 percent stake in Admiral Taverns, according to the Telegraph.

The deal, which is expected to close later this year, is valued at more than $48 million, and the transaction gives the Magners maker a much needed stake in the ultra competitive U.K. pubs market following Heineken’s acquisition of Punch Taverns last year (regulators approved the deal last month). Admiral operates 845 pubs located primarily in England and Wales.

“For us it provides market access,” C&C chief executive Stephen Glancey told the outlet. “So we will be able to drive our brands through their estate over time.”

MillerCoors to Launch New Beer Aimed at Millennials

MillerCoors will launch Two Hats, a line of “light beers brewed with a hint of natural fruit flavor” and aimed at winning over 21- to 24-year-olds, in early 2018, according to the beer company’s blog.

The beer company made clear its intention to steer millennials away from wine and spirits as part of its goal of returning to growth by 2019.

“There’s just a lot of choice with cheaper spirits and wines that are delivering on a low-price entry point,” Two Hats brand manager Justine Stauffer said in a post to MillerCoors’ blog. “The good news is, we know that if we get them to drink beer at (age) 21, they are two times more likely to stick with beer throughout their lifetime.”

The 4.2 percent ABV beer will be released in 6-packs of 16 oz. cans nationwide in two flavors — lime and pineapple — “at an affordable price point.”

San Francisco Brewers Guild Begins Transition into Regional Trade Association

The San Francisco Brewers Guild announced this week that the organization will be evolving into a regional trade association that will represent independent craft brewers throughout the greater San Francisco Bay Area.

To begin the process, which could last up to two years, the Guild said it will begin extending invitations to breweries throughout the region, establish a new governance structure and set up local chapters in San Francisco, East Bay, North Bay, South Bay and potentially Santa Cruz/Monterey.

“The path we’re walking is one where governance and critical organizational decisions will need to be assessed,” Guild executive director Joanne Marino said in a press release. “Through a steering process, each Bay Area has a seat at the table, and its members’ viewpoints are heard.”

Hurricane Forces Less Than Jake to Cancel Ska Anniversary Performance

Durango, Colorado-based Ska Brewing will be holding an anniversary party at its headquarters on Saturday, September 9. However, due to the impending threat of Hurricane Irma, Gainesville, Florida-based Less Than Jake has been forced to cancel their appearance at the show.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Less Than Jake families and all who have been and may soon be affected by these recent natural disasters,” Ska wrote on its blog. “Their concerns are far greater than many of us … may ever know.”

However, Ska has announced plans to donate the money that would have been used to bring the ska band to Colorado to hurricane relief. Ska is also donating $1 from every pint sold at its tasting room today to the relief efforts as part of Saint Arnold Brewing Company’s #ReliefBeers campaign.

Read more on Ska’s website.

Bud Light Debuts New NFL Campaign; Dos Equis Launches College Football Playoff Ads

During last night’s Chiefs-Patriots game, Bud Light introduced its first TV spot of the 2017 NFL season. The humorous ad features a fan at a Jets game who imagines what it’d be like if the stadium beer vendor screaming “Ice cold Bud Light” followed him everywhere. (With stadium beer prices, he better be rich.)

Meanwhile, Dos Equis has launched its 2017 College Football Playoff ad campaign, starring the brand’s Most Interesting Man in the World and comedian Rob Riggle. As part of the campaign, Dos Equis is running a “Search for the Most Interesting Fan” that will culminate with the winner being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and receiving a life-sized statue.

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