USA: Molson Coors buys Michigan’s fourth-largest craft brewer

Tenth and Blake Beer Company, the U.S. craft division of Molson Coors Beverage Company, announced today an agreement to acquire Detroit-based Atwater Brewery. Atwater Brewery is highly regarded in the Michigan craft beer community for its traditional German-style lagers and unique ales Molson Coors said in its press statement.

The brewer, which also produces hard seltzers and craft spirits, operates three unique taphouse and biergarden locations in Detroit, Grosse Pointe Park and Grand Rapids.

The transaction is expected to be completed within the next couple of months. Terms were not disclosed. Mark Rieth, CEO and former owner of Atwater Brewery and his management team will continue to lead Atwater's day-to-day operations.

Founded in 1997 and set up across the street from the defunct Stroh’s brewery in Detroit’s Rivertown district Atwater Brewery revived Detroit's proud brewing tradition. After investing in the brewery in 2002, Mark Rieth purchased the brewery outright in 2005 for USD 500,000, setting off several years of booming growth.  In June 2010, five years after the purchase, Rieth closed the 120-seat restaurant to focus solely on brewing beer.

Led by top-selling beers Dirty Blonde and Vanilla Java Porter, Atwater became a cornerstone of Michigan’s brewing scene. Other brands, such as Better Life Choices (an American IPA that was named a top-10 IPA by Beer Connoisseur magazine), and Decadent Dark Chocolate (which won bronze in the World Beer Cup), augment Atwater’s portfolio.

“Atwater has been a staple and a leader in the Michigan craft community for more than two decades, and we’re thrilled to have them join Tenth and Blake,” said Paul Verdu, vice president of Tenth and Blake. “Our priority is to make sure their beer is enjoyed by consumers throughout their core markets and eventually across the Great Lakes region.”

According to Verdu, Atwater “fills a void in our acquired craft portfolio in the eastern portion of the Great Lakes region” and is positioned to continue its strong performance in its home market of southeastern Michigan.”

"The agreement with Tenth and Blake is both the culmination of our past and the catapult to our future," said Mark Rieth, Atwater Brewery owner. "For Atwater to continue to grow, it will require both capital and brewing expertise. Tenth and Blake brings both, which makes them the ideal strategic partner to help us continue to live our mantra 'Born in Detroit. Raised Everywhere.'"

Atwater Brewery joins other crafts in the Tenth and Blake portfolio, including the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, AC Golden Brewing Company, Saint Archer Brewing Company, Terrapin Beer Company, Hop Valley Brewing Company and Revolver Brewing. Tenth and Blake has posted volume growth of more than 16% in 2019, while the overall craft segment was just above flat.

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