USA: Lagunitas to axe another 5% of staff

Heineken-owned craft brewer Lagunitas Brewing Company has announced a second time in 15 months to cut its workforce, this time by 5%. Like most of the other nationwide distributed craft beer brands, Lagunitas suffers from the growing competition of local craft breweries that are springing up all across the country eating into the market share of the established brands.

Heineken entered the booming U.S. craft beer market in 2015 by buying a stake in Lagunitas, the fifth top selling craft brewery in the U.S. and the market leader in the IPA segment. In May 2017, it took full control of the brewer from Petaluma, California. (, 6.5.2017). Already one year later, in May 2018, Lagunitas said to lay off more than 100 of its about 900 employees, representing 12% of the total workforce.

The newly anounced cuts are necessary “to better align our sales and marketing departments” and “to fortify our continued global success and continue to compete in the ever changing and challenging U.S. marketplace,” Lagunitas’ CEO Maria Stipp said now in a statement.

Despite a slowing domestic market, Heineken has pushed the iconic beer brand internationally which is sold now in 35 countries worldwide and which represents already more than 10% of overall sales.

In February last year, Lagunitas opened its first tap room outside the United States in Amsterdam, Netherlands, the headquarters city of its parent company. It also started brewing the brand at the Brand Brouwerij in Wijlre, Netherlands, close to the German border. The small and tradition-steeped brewery which is owned by Heineken since 1989 was last year upgraded for test brews and to brew "Limited Editions" of twenty hectoliters.

Brazil is selected to be the next country for a local production of Lagunitas. “The craft explosion is everywhere. We saw it when we went to Milan. We saw it in Barcelona. We saw it in Rio. We saw it in São Paulo. It’s not just a U.S. phenomena,” Stipp said earlier in an interview.

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