Reuters: Sources say New Belgium Brewing looking for buyer

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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Rendering of the New Belgium Asheville brewery complex

Reuters reports that its sources say New Belgium Brewing Company is looking for a buyer.

According to Reuters, New Belgium is exploring a buyer that could value the company at more than $1 billion. From Reuters:

Employee-owned New Belgium Brewing Company, which owns craft beer brand Fat Tire, is looking for a buyer that could the value the U.S. company at more than $1 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

A sale of New Belgium would be the latest in a string of deals in the craft beer industry. Big beer companies are increasingly looking to boost their business by acquiring upstart craft breweries to combat their own declining sales.

Advisory firm Lazard Middle Market is advising New Belgium on the potential sale, sources said this week. Lazard Middle Market declined to comment while New Belgium did not respond to requests for comment.

New Belgium is building its East Coast brewery located on the river in West Asheville, an operation that is scheduled to open in spring 2016. It is unclear how a sale would affect the local brewery, local distribution center, existing and future New Belgium jobs in Asheville, the future of the company, and its presence in Asheville.

The advisor firm that Reuters’ sources say is involved would not comment, and New Belgium has not responded to Reuters’ requests for a comment. Ashvegas is also seeking comment from New Belgium.

New Belgium became an employee-owned company in January 2013.

More as this story develops.

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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  1. Tim Peck December 19, 2015

    Don’t these people talk to each other?

    Jade Dundas, Water Resources Director, City of Asheville:

    “Issues that would need to be resolved include:
    -Transferring the contracts of the department’s 148 employees.
    -Nontransferrable federal and state health-and-safety certifications.
    -Transferring the financial, accounting and information technology systems.
    -Training new employees.
    -The city’s water-related bond debt, which is financed by system revenues.”

    Esther Manheimer, Mayor, City of Asheville:

    “To me a corporate transfer doesn’t necessarily mean anything about the experience our city will have with this company. It may just mean a change in ownership. It may not mean a change in the employees or the number of employees they plan to hire or their agreements. It may have no implications in terms of their agreements with the city.”

    1. smytty December 19, 2015

      I cannot make a connection between the blog post, your first quote, and your second quote.

      1. Barry Summers December 19, 2015

        Don’t ask Peck. It’s recently been pretty well established that he doesn’t always write the things on his blog (which he then posts elsewhere, with a clickbait link), but rather he is a beard for hire.

        Who knows who wrote the comment above, or what it has to do with the topic at hand?

        More importantly, why bother trying to figure it out?

      2. Tim Peck December 21, 2015

        smytty says: “I cannot make a connection between the blog post, your first quote, and your second quote.”

        It’s alright. You can stop thinking now.

        1. smytty December 23, 2015

          That was so very helpful. So glad I asked for clarification.

          1. Tim Peck December 28, 2015

            Clarification is not what you need, dear. There is no amount of clarification that would assist you in your forlorn quest.

          2. Barry Summers December 28, 2015

            By all means, keep it up Mr. Peck. Work your PR magic like you did on Tim Moffitt’s campaign. Telling people that they are too stupid to get you is a sure-fire way to persuade.

            More mutton over here!

      3. Barry Summers December 21, 2015

        See? No explanation – just an insult, an attempt to drive you to his blog, and a tacit acknowledgement that there’s no “there” there.

        Whoever’s paying him for this round of trolling may want to reassess whether he’s worth the slabs of mutton they have to toss under the bridge every week.

        1. The Real World December 21, 2015

          Ok, that second paragraph was LOL funny!

  2. Legal December 19, 2015

    Wow, I think it is time to seriously investigate the relationship between New Belgium and the City of Asheville, all riverfront committees, Riverlink and any other group that has legal conflict of interest issues. Our riverfront is being redeveloped by a future mega conglomerate. What deals were made? Call out individuals working for the city and on committees with ties to New Belgium now.

  3. Alan Rosenthal December 18, 2015

    This is not a surprise. This is the model. This model has been followed for years all over the country and in NB’s backyard in CO. Craft brewers are selling out left and right. Some of us have been watching this play out. Some of us aren’t looking at the hops. We’re looking at the national and international brewery sector. The only question has been which company would buy them out – AB Inbev or Miller Coors. With ABI looking to merge with or buyout MC, that is no longer the question. Lazard has put these deals together for ABI all over the world.

    These events don’t take place quickly. We have educated leaders and many that know the right questions. Our decision makers were not punked, only the citizens, blinded by beer and more beer and bike paths and ESOPs and river concerts. All good but all this stuff meant that the citizens thinking NB was some altruistic small company refused to consider that the factory by the river is going to be an Anheuser Busch, mega-international, capital market lead, conglomerate. Local will be the people who work there.

    1. Tommy Green December 19, 2015

      Aren’t you the guy who won’t let people into your networking group unless their photo meets your standards? weird.

      1. smytty December 23, 2015

        Ew. Is that true?

  4. Murphy December 18, 2015

    So… if this is true, the citizens of NC, Buncombe County and the City of Asheville subsidized the growth of NB by providing taxpayer funded “incentives” for the company which promised to “CREATE JOBS” if it located here…

    now as a result of the expansion the company is worth a cool, sudsy BILLION and if the deal goes through, the employee/owners stand to make a lot of money – especially if they are paid off in shares of InBev or whomever buys the company…

    in short, the taxpayers will get screwed.

    1. lil' baby December 19, 2015

      FU NB. The locals won’t let this go. Is there a way to recoup our loss as a city since they aren’t actually bringing those local jobs due to selling out?

    2. Timothy Burgin December 20, 2015

      NB is creating jobs in AVL and these jobs will still be here if they are bought out. NB invested a ton of their own money in this project and are transforming a brownfield into a sustainable business. How exactly will the taxpayers get screwed if they sell their business?

      1. smytty December 23, 2015

        I can’t figure this one either. Instead of a mid-sized craft brewery investing money in bike lanes and hiring dozens of local people to living wage jobs, we woul have a mid-sized craft brewery owned by a big corporation investing money in bike lanes and hiring dozens of local people to living wage jobs.

        Oh no?

    3. Jenny December 20, 2015

      What was the point of coming here in the first place I wonder?

      Sounds like they are overspent on this location and are trying to find a quick way out and still make money off it.

      140 employees total -WOW. That really helped our unemployment here. Probably some brought in from elsewhere.

      Was it really worth it Asheville?

      1. The Real World December 22, 2015

        @Jenny – the point was East Coast distribution as has been stated for a long time now.

        From the Brewhound link provided above:
        The company has been inching deliberately toward 50-state distribution in recent years. Still, nationwide availability may not be enough to boost weakening sales of Fat Tire, which are down 1.4 percent year-to-date, according to market research firm IRI.

        So, they see the writing on the wall: crowded field, craft brewing is a maturing industry, sales are slowing = time to sell.

  5. Dustin December 18, 2015

    A purchase by InBev would boil the blood of many. And make many others rich beyond their wildest dreams.

  6. The Real World December 18, 2015

    Very, very interesting. Certainly the beer scene in America, overall, is getting very crowded.

    The smart money doesn’t wait for the slump, they cash out before it happens.


  7. chris December 18, 2015

    They may not have completed construction, but they’re already brewing there, according to a rep I spoke with.


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