USA/Spain: Mahou San Miguel increases ownership in leading U.S. craft brewer

Mahou San Miguel, the leading Spanish beer group, will increase its ownership in Founders Brewing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, beginning in January 2020, according to documents filed by Founders last week with the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. The Spanish family owned company bought 30 percent in the leading 1997-founded U.S. craft brewer in 2014 and will increase now its ownership to 90 percent by buying out more than a two-dozen minority shareholders, including family members of various executives, local business people and other investors. The two co-founders Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers will each retain a 5 percent share.

The minority purchase from 2014 of 30 percent of the company at USD 96.3 million included a provision allowing Mahou to acquire the remainder of the company starting in the fifth year after the initial deal.However, Tony Barnes, chief corporate counsel of Founders stated that the deal is a separate arrangement while the “old deal went away.

After first reported the transaction Thursday afternoon, Founders confirmed the move shortly afterwards:

"Founders will remain autonomous in managing its business, products and teams,” Founders said in a statement.  “Engbers and Stevens will continue to be shareholders in Founders and have no intention of leaving. Their commitment to the brewery will remain and their roles and responsibilities will continue as they are now."

"Since 2014, we’ve enjoyed an excellent relationship with Mahou Group. We’re fortunate to have a partner with whom we can exchange brewing knowledge and business strategy, who also reflects our values as a company. Day-to-day operations will continue to be led by the existing Founders team. We’ll continue to make the beers we love and have a partner in Mahou Group, who is just as passionate about beer and the future of Founders as we are.”

Since 2014, when San Miguel took a minority stake in Founders, the craft brewer could widen its distribution to all 50 U.S. states and increase overall sales by one third to 563,700 barrels (661,500 hl). It could even surpass last year Bell’s Brewery which was for a long time Michigan’s largest craft brewery and stayed to 100 percent independent.

In addition to its investment in Founders, Mahou San Miguel acquired in November 2017 30 percent of Avery Brewing Co. from Boulder, Colorado (, 28.11.2017) which it increased to 70 percent in April this year (, 2.4.2019).

In July, Mahou San Miguel, announced to acquire a 70 percent stake in Brutus, a craft beer brand from Barcelona/Spain (, 2.7.2019).

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