Seaboard Craft Beer Holdings Makes a 2nd Acquisition

Seaboard Craft Beer Holdings, the parent company of Tampa Bay’s Big Storm Brewing Co., has acquired the assets of Cape Coral Brewing Co., a Florida brewery that shuttered in October after two years in business.

Specific financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

As part of the deal, Seaboard will rebrand the former Cape Coral location as a Big Storm taproom and brewing facility. The company has set a target opening date of February 2018.

“It’s perfect for what we need it to do — small-batch stuff for Big Storm,” Seaboard co-owner L.J. Govoni told Brewbound.

According to Brewers Association data, Cape Coral Brewing sold about 190 barrels of beer out of the facility last year. Seaboard will lease the building with hopes of either buying the property or finding a more permanent location elsewhere, Govoni added.

Seaboard also plans to resurrect the Cape Coral brand in the next 18 months via the construction of a taproom and small-batch brewing facility, Govoni said.

“We’re going to build them their own standalone facility — retail centric, retail heavy, retail focused,” he said. “That business needs to standalone on its own and survive on its own.”

Govoni told Brewbound that Seaboard has brought Cape Coral founder Chris Hart on board to run day-to-day brewing operations for Big Storm in Cape Coral. He added that Hart will resume brewing at Cape Coral once the brand is revived.

This marks Seaboard’s second Florida craft brewery acquisition of the year. In April, the company acquired the brewing assets and brand of Punta Gorda-based Fat Point Brewing Company.

As part of that purchase, Seaboard allowed Fat Point to continue operations and maintain its tasting room and manufacturing facility. It also gave the smaller Fat Point access to expanded production capabilities at Big Storm’s manufacturing facility.

“There are some really good breweries in Florida that are struggling, and it’s not because of their liquid,” he said. “It’s not as easy as people think it is, and I think the dream of just open it and they will come has changed now. To the extent that we can improve our bottom line and keep local craft manufacturers alive and open in a way that helps them grow, we’re going to do everything we can.”

Since the acquisition, Fat Point has added distribution in the Orlando area, and plans to expand the brand into the northern and southeastern parts of the state are also underway, Govoni said.

Seaboard is also eyeing additional acquisition opportunities, Govoni added, and the company is in active discussions with as many as eight potential new partners.

“We have breweries that are in the top 100 list of production that are in due diligence right now for whatever reason,” he said. “We’re actively looking for strong brands to bring into the fold and really leverage our management team.”

Those breweries are based in Florida, as well as the Mid-Atlantic, Great Lakes, West Coast and Pacific Northwest regions.

“Fifteen to 20 percent of deals we look at advance to the next stage,” he said. “And 15 to 20 percent of those deals actually get to [an] acquisition spot. That’s a really good model for us.”

Meanwhile, Seaboard’s flagship property, Big Storm, continues to be the centerpiece of the portfolio. The brewery is on pace to double sales, to about 10,000 barrels, by the end of the year, Govoni said. He added that Big Storm, which currently operates taprooms in Clearwater and Odessa, could open up to six more locations across the state.

The company is also planning to extend distribution into Southeast Florida in 2018.

“We believe there is a large opportunity to work on building some relationships and expand distribution down there,” he said. “I think we’re ready now.”

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