On Tuesday, New York based Brooklyn Brewery, the eleventh largest US craft brewer, announced that it had taken a minority financial stake in both Funkwerks Brewing in Fort Collins/Coloardo and 21st Amendment Brewery in northern California's Bay Area. In addition, the three breweries form a sales and distribution partnership network taking effect January 1, 2018. The new combined sales group includes seventy sales staffers and ninety brand ambassadors in the 38 states where the three breweries currently distribute.
"This is a way for us to stay independent and continue to grow," said Brad Lincoln, co-founder of Funkwerks. "The idea is that it makes it a lot easier to talk to distributors and to get attention, so we can offer the same kind of thing as AB InBev, but from an independent point of view," Lincoln added.
“American craft brewers need to stick together and find new ways to meet the challenges of the 21st century marketplace,” Brooklyn Brewery founder Steve Hindy said. And he continued: “The three breweries and sales teams really fit together well. We’re aligned where we need to be, complementary where we need to be, and have a lot of domestic and international territory to grow into together."
Earlier this month, Brooklyn Brewery announced to open its 6th brewery outside the US in Klaipeda/Lithuania in cooperation with Danish brewing group Carlsberg (inside.beer, 11.7.2017).
Brooklyn Brewery is one of the pioneers of the US craft beer industry. It was founded in 1988 by Steve Hindy, a former correspondent of Associated Press and his downstairs neighbor, banker Tom Potter. Originally all their beer was brewed by contract by Matt Brewing Company in the upstate New York city of Utica. The pair started their own distribution company and personally transported and marketed their beer to bars and retailers around New York City. Since 1994, Garrett Oliver has been the brewmaster and is responsible for the excellent reputation of the Brooklyn beers.
In 1996, Brooklyn Brewery acquired a former Jewish bakery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and converted it into a brewery. In 2003 first Tom Potter and later also Steve Hindy sold their voting shares to the befriended Ottaway family. In 2014, the brothers Eric and Robin Ottaway were assuming official leadership roles in the brewery, with Eric serving as CEO and Robin as President.
In October 2016, Brooklyn announced a two-pronged deal with Kirin Holdings from Japan, where Brooklyn sold 24,5% of the company to Kirin and the both partners would establish a new brewery in Japan (inside.beer, 12.10.2016).