Two quarter-century-old beer companies are merging in an effort to remain competitive amid increasing pressure from small and large players alike.
Mammoth Lakes, California-based Mammoth Brewing Company has reached an asset purchase agreement with Reno, Nevada-based Great Basin Brewing Company.
Specific financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Mammoth co-owner Sean Turner told Brewbound that he would acquire a “100 percent” ownership stake in the 26-year-old Great Basin. The transaction is expected to close in early August, following the transfer of licenses and regulatory approvals.
Moving forward, the two craft breweries will operate as wholly-owned subsidiaries of a newly formed holding company, Mammoth Brewing Group LLC, Turner said.
“This move by Great Basin and Mammoth Brewing Company is so we both remain relevant, we survive and thrive,” he added. “It really is going to allow us to be much more competitive in the years to come.”
Turner, who purchased the 24-year-old Mammoth Brewing in 2007, said he and Great Basin founders Tom and Bonda Young have been friends for more than a decade. Over the years, the idea of a merger was discussed, but serious conversations began last year, he said.
“It’s an acquisition but we really want to merge our two company cultures to grow both brands distinctly and uniquely,” Turner said, noting that the deal was struck in February.
Speaking to Brewbound, Tom Young said the intent was never to sell Great Basin, but that changed as he’s aged.
“I am not getting any younger, and it’s a better idea for us to start thinking about passing the torch,” he said. “We’ve grown this thing up after quite a number of years, and it’s got enough wings to fly itself.”
Although the Youngs are selling the company, both will remain with the business. Tom Young said he would continue to serve as Great Basin’s brewmaster, while his wife will continue to participate in the business’ day-to-day operations. Young added that he has no plans to retire.
“I’m hoping that I’m still around helping out as long as can be a value to the company,” he said. “When I’m 95, I still want to walk into Great Basin or Mammoth and get the Ichthyosaur beers.”
Turner added that Tom Young’s continued involvement in the business lends credibility to the operation.
“Having him involved in the company, just from an ambassador role, is very important for us,” he said.
According to Turner, both breweries’ volume has been “stagnant” in recent years. Last year, Mammoth produced about 5,000 barrels of beer, while Great Basin made around 15,000 barrels. Turner said he’s hoping to change that within the next five years, growing production to a combined 40,000 barrels.
Turner said he expects the growth to come via increased distribution in existing markets, new market expansion and the addition of Great Basin tasting rooms. He added that he hopes to expand distribution of Great Basin beers to Southern California for Great Basin in the coming year. He will also look to bring Mammoth beers to Utah, and add distribution in the Bay Area for both brands.
Although both brands are aligned in Central California, they are with different wholesalers in the Reno market (Great Basin is with Southern-Glazer’s and Mammoth is with New West Distributing), Young said. Turner said he would explore opportunities to align the two networks in the future.
Despite 170 miles separating the two breweries, Turner said the plan is to transfer production of Mammoth’s core offerings to Great Basin’s Reno production facility. Great Basin has about 30,000 of capacity between its Reno production facility and two brewpub locations in Reno and Sparks.
Moving core brewing operations to Reno will help Mammoth scale up production and meet demand for its offerings, which spikes in the summer and winter months due to tourism.
“We really haven’t been able to really have a stable supply for our distributors,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing that I’m excited to change for Mammoth Brewing Company.”
Turner said he expects the consolidated company to share raw materials as well as sales and marketing resources. However, he does not anticipate any job cuts as a result of the transaction.
A press release with additional information is included below.
This will allow both breweries to immediately expand production and share a combined 55 years of expertise in the brewing industry
Mammoth Lakes, Calif. – Mammoth Brewing Company (MBC) has signed an asset purchase agreement (APA) with an intent to acquire Great Basin Brewing Company (GBBC), with the goal to close this summer. Once the deal is finalized, MBC and GBBC will have the opportunity to immediately increase sales from approximately 15,000 barrels of beer a year to 40,000 barrels collectively.
“MBC has always been so limited by our production ability due to the size of our brew pub equipment,” said Sean Turner, co-owner and President, MBC. “This deal will allow us to grow and fulfill the demand for our craft beers.”
By cementing MBC and GBBC annual production beers at the Taps and Tanks facility, this deal will allow both breweries greater experimentation at the other three locations.
In addition to more efficient production, benefits include streamlining each other’s marketing, sales and distribution channels, enhancing buying power, sharing expertise between brewers and key leadership, and improving utilization of resources.
This deal will allow the new combined company to better promote the MBC and GBBC brands independently, and become a regional player in the highly competitive marketplace that is craft beer. It will also allow MBC and GBBC to survive and thrive in an ever changing craft beer landscape.
“We want to make it known that Mammoth Brewing Company will not replace Great Basin Brewing Company, its brand or any of its facilities, or vice versa,” Turner said. “In fact, it is our intent to distinctly and uniquely grow both brands independently.”
Both breweries are known pioneers in the brewing industry in their respective regions. GBBC is the oldest and largest brewing company in Nevada, and MBC is the oldest and most award-winning in the Eastern Sierra.
“I like to think that we’re representing the Eastern Sierra and leading the charge to show what two independent brewers can do,” Turner said.
MBC and GBBC are located in the Eastern Sierra near outdoor recreational areas, Mammoth Mountain and Lake Tahoe respectively. Both breweries’ most popular beers pay tribute to their regions, including MBC’s IPA 395 that represents its location off of US-395, and GBBC’s “ICKY” IPA which is short for Ichthyosaur, Nevada’s state fossil. The breweries are united in their want to continually reinvent themselves to appeal to the next generation of craft beer drinkers while holding true to the traditions that have been in place for years.
“We are two true craft breweries looking to merge our brands together because of our passion and love for the industry, and our constant effort to make great beer that represents our region,” said Tom Young, Brewmaster, GBBC.
“The goal is to close this deal before the 24th annual Bluesapalooza & Mammoth Festival of Beers in Mammoth Lakes, California on August 1-4, and we have many tasks to complete before then,” Turner said.
For more information about MBC and GBBC, please visit brewedinthewild.com.
About Mammoth Brewing Company
Mammoth Brewing Company has been brewing craft beer at altitude in Mammoth Lakes, California since 1995. Mammoth Brewing Company currently distributes in Southern California, Reno, Tahoe/Truckee, the Eastern Sierra and Yosemite National Park. MBC produces approximately 5,000 barrels of beer annually.
About Great Basin Brewing Company
Great Basin Brewing Company, Nevada’s oldest and most award-winning brewery since 1993. GBBC has a restaurant/ brewery location and a separate production facility in Reno, NV and its original restaurant/brewery in Sparks, NV. The restaurants offer a full menu and a wide variety of beers — four flagship beers and many seasonal brewmaster specials, many having won awards at the most prestigious Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup. Great Basin Brewing Company produces approximately 10,000 barrels of beer annually.