Two small Asheville, N.C.-based beer companies are tying up as the Thirsty Monk Pub and Brewery chain, which produces its own batches of beer and pours those from other U.S. outfits, today announced it would acquire neighboring French Broad Brewery.
In a press release, Thirsty Monk owner and president Barry Bialik said the company planned to “grow the French Broad Brewery brand” and incorporate its beers into Thirsty Monk’s locations.
The company also said it planned to utilize excess capacity at French Broad’s facility to expand production of its own Thirsty Monk line of beers. The brewpub chain had originally intended to expand its brewing operations by building a production facility on a two acre plot it owns near the French Broad location.
“We do still intend to build out a brewery at our warehouse site, but this French Broad Brewery purchase will allow us to build smarter when we decide the time is right, and expand production of both brands,” he said.
While details of French Broad Brewery’s exact capacity were not immediately available, the company — which produced roughly 3,000 barrels of beer in 2015 according to the Asheville Citizen Times — said its facility is capable of brewing and packaging all of Thirsty Monk’s core brands without interrupting its own production.
Although a number of small breweries have sold to larger beer companies or private equity firms in the past 18 months, acquisitions between small and independent craft beer manufacturers are relatively rare. Oskar Blues, fueled by an investment from Boston-based private equity firm Fireman Capital Partners, has purchased Florida’s Cigar City Brewing and Michigan’s Perrin Brewing Company. Earlier this year, Wisconsin-based Sand Creek Brewing purchased two smaller brands it already contract brewed for, and Brew Bus, a Tampa-based brewery tour operator, purchased Florida Avenue Brewing for an undisclosed sum. A more notable deal between San Diego’s Green Flash Brewing and Alpine Beer Company was also struck in late 2014.
Neither Bialik nor French Broad Brewery owner Andrew Dahm could be reached for comment as of press time.
The sale is scheduled to close this summer. Once complete, Thirsty Monk will have five locations in the greater Asheville area: Downtown Asheville, Biltmore Park, Woodfin’s Reynolds Village, Gerber Village, and the French Broad Brewery taproom in Biltmore Village.