USA: Legacy Breweries acquires two more craft breweries

After having acquired in April 2019 a majority stake in the country’s 35th largest craft brewer Ninkasi Brewing Company (with a production of about 90,000 barrels in 2018), 2-year-old Legacy Breweries has now announced the purchase of two smaller breweries, Laurelwood Brewing in Oregon with a yearly production of about 20,000 barrels and Aspen Brewing in Colorado with about 4.500 barrels per year.

Financial details of the transaction were not revealed.

“Over the last year [we] have been in discussion [with] 125 to 130 breweries,” Legacy’s General Partner and CEO Don Bryant, told the Aspen Times. “Not all of them fit our criteria, but we are in late-stage discussion with about six of those, and our goal is by the end of 2020 to have 15 breweries,” said the industry veteran who also headed hops company Yakima Chief from 2014 to 2016.

“Our model is we’re all guys from the industry,” Bryant said. “So our thought was how can we find breweries that we can bond together and support them because of the 8,333 breweries (in the U.S.) aren’t going to be here a year from now, and so we wanted to talk with folks that really have legs and bring them all together, support them together, and take together strengths and weakness of them.”

Legacy Brewing is financially backed by Blue Ocean Partners Family Office, an independent family office and advisory firm and by EPR Properties, a Kansas City, Missouri-based real estate investment trust. EPR had an annual revenue of USD 701million for 2018 and currently invests in three primary segments: entertainment, recreation and education. The company owns amusement parks, theaters, schools, and ski resorts.

According to a press release, Laurelwood Brewing as well as Aspen Brewing will transfer ownership of brewing facilities and all intellectual rights to Legacy Breweries. While the Aspen brewpub will also change hands, the Laurelwood brewpub will remain in possession of Mike DeKalb and his wife Cathy Woo-De Kalb, who founded Laurelwood 18 years ago. Both will also operate the facility’s 15-barrel brewhouse under license from Legacy.

Laurelwood has already close ties with Nikasi Brewing since the latter is already brewing under contract about 7,000 barrels of Laurelwood’s Workhorse IPA and Free Range Red Ale. “Legacy and Ninkasi currently partner in helping us brew our beers, which have always had a strong following in the Northwest. We’re thrilled to have their continued support in bringing our craft to our loyal customers,” De Kalb was quoted in the press release.

Aspen Brewing was founded in 2008 by Duncan Clauss, who will continue to run the brewery’s operations. Legacy plans to double Aspen’s capacity to 10,000 barrels within the next two years. By joining forces, Legacy will give Aspen Brewing added resources and the ability to stay competitive in a saturated industry, Clauss told the Aspen Times. He also added that “we’ll expand our sales team and marketing team” but “continue to focus on Colorado.”

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