Thomas Creek Brewery Eyes Potential Sale

After 20 years of brewing beer in South Carolina, Thomas Creek Brewery is considering a possible sale of the business, co-owner Tom Davis told Brewbound.

Thomas Creek, which brews its own line of beers as well as a variety of other labels for large and small companies alike, including Bacardi, has retained brokerage firm National Restaurant Properties to secure upwards of $8 million to expand the Greenville-based craft brewery.

Davis, who said Thomas Creek would consider selling the entire business “for the right number,” told Brewbound that a California-based company with interests in the craft brewing sector is considering an investment.

“We have been looking, softly, for several years,” Davis said, noting that Brian Good, a broker with National Restaurant Properties, had visited the brewery prior to the company beginning a more serious deal process.

“We needed to get a little bit more aggressive,” Davis added. “When Brian came in, and we found out he specialized in breweries, we hired the company to find money for us.”

Davis, who said that contract brewing agreements with partners such as Inlet Brewing Company (owners of Monk in the Trunk), Bacardi (Hatuey) and others make up about 40 percent of the company’s production, believes that additional capital is needed to take Thomas Creek to “the next level.”

“We need some additional capital to get to where we want to go,” he said.

That desire to expand comes at a time when Thomas Creek production declined 49 percent, from 19,000 in 2016 to 9,750 barrels in 2017, according to data from industry trade group the Brewers Association.

Davis attributed at least some of those declines to the loss of a large contract brewing agreement with Islamorada Brewing Company.

“We didn’t have another large contract to fill that gap,” he said. “That’s the contract business for you.”

He added that the Thomas Creek brewing facility currently has about 23,000 barrels of capacity on site, and is capable of being scaled to around 60,000 barrels with the addition of new fermentation tanks.

Thomas Creek currently distributes its products in seven states – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Tennessee – and Davis said the company is also examining possible opportunities to expand with other locations.

If a deal with the unnamed California business comes to fruition, Thomas Creek could look to have its products brewed under contract and distributed on the West Coast, he added.

The National Restaurant Properties website – craftbreweryforsale.com – also lists four other beer companies that are currently on the block: Texas’ Goliad Brewing Company, Tennessee’s Holston River Brewing Company, Virginia’s BadWolf Brewing Company and North Carolina’s Howard Brewing.

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