Artisanal Brewing Ventures Acquires Sixpoint Brewery

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by Todd, Nov 7, 2018.

  1. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,621) Aug 23, 1996 California

    More from Brewbound:

    Press release:

    BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Nov. 7, 2018 – Sixpoint Brewery has signed a partnership agreement to become part of Artisanal Brewing Ventures (ABV), a unique company created to support the growth ambitions of leading regional craft breweries. Located in Brooklyn, New York, Sixpoint is an acclaimed producer of some of New York’s most recognizable craft beer brands. As part of the partnership, Sixpoint plans to open its first taproom and new production brewing facility in Brooklyn. This facility will serve as Sixpoint’s innovation brewery, headquarters, and a much-anticipated location where consumers can experience the Sixpoint brand as well as sample and celebrate Sixpoint beers. Through this partnership, Sixpoint becomes a sister brewery to ABV’s other brands, Victory Brewing Company and Southern Tier Brewing Company.

    “I am truly excited to be joining ABV,” Eric Bachli, Sixpoint’s brewmaster andchief product officer said. “This is a world-class organization and they bring expertise in the business side of craft beer, so we can focus on our craft and on creating great-tasting, innovative beers. Sixpoint has so much opportunity ahead of it, and our partnership with ABV will help us reach our full potential.”

    The partnership provides ABV with a strong presence in the fast-growing New York City market and makes the company one of the nation’s top ten regional craft brewers. With Sixpoint a part of its portfolio, ABV has a leadership position in six of the country’s top 50 markets for craft beer.

    “Adding Sixpoint to the ABV family is consistent with our strategy of working with successful regional brands that have great local market penetration, passionate fans, and opportunity to grow,” said John Coleman, CEO, Artisanal Brewing Ventures. “Our resources, expertise in craft beer and high operating standards can unlock Sixpoint’s growth potential, improve its productivity, and allow their team to focus on what makes Sixpoint special and successful: brewing great beer, creating strong local relevance and building an authentic brand.”

    In addition to the new Brooklyn brewery, Sixpoint will gain access to ABV’s network of world-class production facilities and talented brewers. Sixpoint will also partner with Southern Tier and Victory to leverage their collective consumer data and insights to build an impactful innovation program and marketing approach, while also creating a unique selling structure and go-to-market strategy.

    Eric Bachli will play a vital role on the ABV team. He will partner with ABV’s existing executive team to lead the Sixpoint operation in Brooklyn. Before he joined Sixpoint in 2017, Bachli was head brewer at Trillium Brewing Company in Massachusetts where he was integral in building Trillium into one of the nation’s leading hyper-local “Craft 3.0” brands.

    Founded in 2004, Sixpoint is one of the New York-area’s longest-running and most highly regarded craft breweries. Its stable of four core brands arewell known across the metro New York market. Sixpoint also produces premium limited-release and seasonal offerings out of their current Brooklyn location.

    Shane Welch, a pioneer in the craft beer industry, founded Sixpoint and built it into one of the area’s leading and most-respected craft breweries. Shane will now take the opportunity to focus exclusively on a host of other craft beer related businesses, including an innovative app for direct to consumer engagement and e-commerce.

    Sixpoint and ABV remain committed to the three-tier distribution system. ABV will partner with key three-tier distributor partners to bring a strong portfolio of brands to their operations helping to reduce complexity and costs while increasing distribution and sales opportunities across all of ABV’s partner brands. The Brooklyn taproom also represents an investment in the three-tier system in metro New York. Like other successful ABV taprooms and production facilities in Lakewood, Charlotte, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh, the Brooklyn project is designed to attract new customers, drive trial and create passionate advocates for ABV brands, and increase Sixpoint’s presence in the surrounding market.

    “The taproom and production brewery are investments in Sixpoint’s growth,” said Coleman. “Taprooms give us the opportunity to connect with consumers in a unique way. They can try our beers, and hopefully leave the taproom as an advocate of our brands which ultimately helps us to grow in the surrounding market.”

    About Artisanal Brewing Ventures
    Artisanal Brewing Ventures was founded in 2014 to bring expertise and resources to the business side of the craft beer industry. ABV brings top-tier craft beer brands together and unlocks their potential for growth. Through mergers and partnerships in high-volume, craft beer-centric markets, ABV is building a portfolio of breweries and brands, including Sixpoint, Southern Tier, and Victory. It gives brewers professional resources, expertise and support, while safeguarding the independence and authenticity of their brands. The company is a top ten regional craft brewer in the U.S. and has a leadership position in six of the county’s top 50 markets for craft beers. ABV is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. In addition to Brooklyn, ABV has operations in Lakewood, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and metro Philadelphia.

    About Sixpoint
    Founded in 2004, Sixpoint is one of the New York-area’s longest-running and most well-regarded craft breweries. Based in Brooklyn, the brewery produces more than 50,000 barrels of craft beer a year, with four core brands: Sweet Action, Bengali, The Crisp, and Resin, as well as limited-release and seasonal products. Sixpoint has been named best craft brewer in New York on multiple occasions.

  2. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (2,952) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Premium Trader

    Just got back from NYC last night and unfortunately couldn't get out to the brewery from where I was staying. Having a more centralized brewery would certainly help that. Very neat.

    Cool to hear about bringing on Bachli as well.

    I wish you all the best. I just hope to continue to see new, innovative beers and a return to the bean classics. And for you to push your distro one state north of Arkansas (although my Arkansas friend does a fair job of picking up your stuff for me!)

    frozyn and TongoRad like this.
  3. BrewsOverHoes

    BrewsOverHoes Defender (630) Nov 17, 2013 Georgia
    Premium Trader

    I’m hoping this means I see Sixpoint’s footprint expanding into Georgia.
  4. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,521) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Premium Trader

    Best wishes to Sixpoint and Shane- hopefully this works out well for all involved!
  5. Alefflicted

    Alefflicted Initiate (78) Dec 2, 2017 Minnesota

    Interesting... I think we are going to continue to see more and more of this.
    IPAExpert69, THANAT0PSIS and TongoRad like this.
  6. jacincm

    jacincm Initiate (46) Mar 29, 2018 Pennsylvania

    Good for them.

    There was a thread titled "Sixpoint sells out" that got deleted.

    God forbid the owners want to secure their financial future. Victory and Southern Tier have done just fine since merging.
  7. BeerVikingSailor

    BeerVikingSailor Crusader (719) Nov 19, 2009 Ohio

    Congrats Sixpoint and Shane.....looks like an excellent move to expand your brand and provide solid financial backing to do what you do best....make great beers! Keep 'em coming!
    canchon, RobHB, dcotom and 1 other person like this.
  8. thebeers

    thebeers Poo-Bah (2,327) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Does anyone know if Victory and Southern Tier have become more profitable since the merger?
  9. ECdOc

    ECdOc Initiate (86) Nov 9, 2004 Pennsylvania

    There was certainly a large change in my experience in the Victory brewpubs when they merged with ST. The one-off beers disappeared, service quality dropped, a more corporate style of management seemed to take hold. I did not like the initial effects of the merger. I will say things are starting to seem to come around a bit recently, but it's a fact that Victory changed. Satan forbid the the people that built your brand get worried when their local breweries shake things up to the detriment of locals, for the benefit of larger distribution networks. Sure, it's a business but don't forget where you came from and who got you where you are. Hope the best for Sixpoint and their employees, but more I hope they don't forget who built them.
  10. tinoynk

    tinoynk Initiate (62) Sep 25, 2010 New York

    Just in case you ever come back to NYC and try to visit Sixpoint, they don't have a regularly open taproom, and are only open to the public on their monthly-ish release events.

    Would be a shame if somebody trekked out to the depths of Red Hook to find a locked gate.
    Wiffler27, tzieser, Ranbot and 3 others like this.
  11. bound4er

    bound4er Champion (814) Jul 4, 2007 Wisconsin

  12. MaryMessner

    MaryMessner Initiate (26) Apr 10, 2018 Ohio

    A brewery that 100% could remain profitable on their own... seriously so much talent in their crew... bums me out
    GreenBayBA likes this.
  13. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (886) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Craft breweries banding together to decrease costs and increase distribution is certainly a good idea.

    Not sure, but I don't see how they couldn't be, especially since they're probably sharing things like corporate structure, sales & marketing, and purchasing/raw materials.
  14. thebeers

    thebeers Poo-Bah (2,327) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Yep. Also saw that massive taphouse they opened down south recently that must have cost a pretty penny.

    (I’m putting in an early request for a Sixpoint pub in the Philly area — ideally southern MontCo: Jenkintown, Abington, somewhere like that.)
    Ranbot likes this.
  15. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,361) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    According to the BREWBOUND article on the deal:
    If the Brewbound's mention of Welch's estimate for their 2017 barrelage was correct, looks like ABV+Sixpoint would have wound up around #9 or #10 behind Stone and maybe CANarchy on the B.A. Top 50 Craft List last year.
  16. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,521) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Premium Trader

    Thanks for the clarification on that, I must have misread it originally, and thought he was going to concentrate on the app and Red Hook releases.
  17. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,503) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Premium Trader

    Would love to hear more about where @Sixpoint is going from here. Sad to see him depart as a result of this.
  18. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (886) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Why would it bum you out? They joined up with two other excellent breweries. Both of which are independent craft breweries, just like them. There is really only an up side here.
  19. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (251) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    How is it a partnership if they bought you out? Every press release since GI has had some sort of spin. No one is ever honest. How are they joining so and so team when you are essential THAT team. A merger if you will.

    They always say so and so company will retain its own independence but I have yet to see it truly happen.

    I get none of ABVs products and sadly or not sadly, I don't feel I am missing out. I've had many of the breweries products while in other parts of the country. And they just feel like a whole slew of solid products. We get solid products from other production breweries.
    JohnnyHopps and RobNewton like this.
  20. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (886) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    The lack of true transparency is, indeed, unfortunate. Then again, when have we ever had that?

    Agreed, but there are shades of grey here and I think you know that.

    If you don't think that Southern Tier, and, especially, Victory are more than "solid", I don't know what to tell you.
    chrismattlin, RobHB, hillind and 2 others like this.
  21. zid

    zid Savant (930) Feb 15, 2010 New York

    I’m assuming that the Brewers Association doesn’t even view Victory and Southern Tier as “independent breweries” (as opposed to ABV). It’s difficult to see how one would think differently.
    RobNewton likes this.
  22. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,680) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    The BA does see them as independent.

    This statement about Victory appears on the BA Membership page:

    "Greater than 25% ownership by Artisanal Brewing Ventures, which is a craft brewer."

    This is the same basis under which Boulevard, Ommegang and Firestone Walker are also considered to be Independent. Except of course they are owned by Duvel Moortgat.
    #23 drtth, Nov 8, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
    FBarber, Squire and TongoRad like this.
  23. surfcaster

    surfcaster Crusader (749) Apr 20, 2013 North Carolina
    Premium Trader

    Hope it works out and have always appreciated Shane's willingness to contribute here.

    BUT, Sixpoint is another large regional brewer that has been available in NC but has almost nothing that I cannot fine a local (and at least equal) version of and accordingly never purchase anymore. A similar plight many folks in their position find themselves in.
  24. stingley

    stingley Initiate (108) Sep 21, 2013 Pennsylvania

    I live an hour from the original Southern Tier brewery in Lakewood, NY and have been there several times (tho it's been a few years). They were still quite young the first time I did the tour and it was very laid back and loosely structured, they passed around pitchers and we drank to our heart's content. The guy even went over to a tank and opened the spigot and drew us a sample of the still aging yet unreleased 2XIPA! Fun was had by all. Contrast that with the more recent trips where the tour is more structured and the tastings much more strictly controlled in the tasting room.

    Good breweries grow and I'm glad to see them doing so well and I'm proud to tell the story of how I knew them "when".

    Southern Tier IPA by my side as I type this.... And I poured it before I even opened BA. Cheers!
    Ranbot likes this.
  25. russpowell

    russpowell Poo-Bah (8,854) May 24, 2005 Arkansas
    Premium Trader

    Like to see all those beers here in Arkansas not just Sixpoint ( miss you already Victory! )
  26. zid

    zid Savant (930) Feb 15, 2010 New York

    Well... you could be right, or we could both be right. The BA isn't going to do us any favors in this regard. You are right in that this puts them within the BA's own definition of a "craft brewer" but it's possible that you are still inferring something unintended. I was basing my notion on the BA's "top 50 craft brewing companies" which does not list any of those breweries and instead lists Artisanal Brewing Ventures and Duvel Moortgat. You won't find Victory as an entity on that list. Perhaps they are making a distinction between a "brewery" and a "brewing company." I could see them thinking that Duvel Moortgat is independent and that Ommegang is owned by them rather than being a distinct independent entity. That's my inference at least... and probably wrong. Of course, it's borderline silly spending too much energy trying to figure this out. Any inconsistencies are probably best left as just that. I gotta say, your statement of: "Boulevard, Ommegang and Firestone Walker are also considered to be Independent. Except of course they are owned by Duvel Moortgat" is almost funny... not due to anything from you, but just in regards to the BA. Common sense isn't part of this discussion. :slight_smile:

  27. ManBearPat

    ManBearPat Devotee (428) Dec 2, 2014 Colorado

    Grew up in Erie.. Phin & Matt’s was one of my early intros to ‘good beer’. Still has a place in my heart.. that was a very long time ago and while I’ve revisited several of their offerings over the years, they don’t do much for me anymore (and that’s okay). Glad to see they’re still going strong!
    stingley likes this.

    THANAT0PSIS Crusader (766) Aug 3, 2010 Wisconsin

    I have mixed feelings about this.

    On the one hand, I share the sentiment that this is going to become increasingly common for brewers around Sixpoint's size; the current hyper-local state of the scene basically demands it. Mergers with other craft breweries are much, much better than selling out to AB-InBev/MillerCoors/etc.

    On the other hand, I don't like to see any loss of independence by any brewery that I am a fan of. Expanding the amount of people that have oversight and are invested in a product seldom results in an increase in quality; at worst, quality declines, sometimes significantly. Also, we often see breweries after mergers become more trend-chasing, less experimental, and less original; the press release seems to imply the opposite, but it remains to be seen.

    I'm sad to see Shane (@Sixpoint) out of the company. Most importantly, that doesn't really instill me with a lot of positive vibes, more selfishly and on a smaller scale of importane, I'll miss his insight about Sixpoint here on the forums.

    I'm cautiously optimistic. Maybe we'll finally get some friggin' Alpenflo in Wisconsin now...
  29. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,503) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Premium Trader

    but wasn’t @Sixpoint the driving force behind alpenflo?
    RobNewton likes this.
  30. WhiteHart

    WhiteHart Initiate (35) Apr 16, 2018 North Carolina

    I think it's fun that this is OK just because Sixpoint has been well represented here on BA. Any other brewery, there would be pitchforks.
    @JackHorzempa, thoughts?

    THANAT0PSIS Crusader (766) Aug 3, 2010 Wisconsin

    Don't you put that evil on us all.

    If they discontinue Alpenflo, I (and a lot of people on this site apparently) will be extremely disappointed. The Crisp is good, but Alpenflo is a beautiful beer, probably the best beer they make, in my opinion.
    RobNewton, keithmurray and FBarber like this.
  32. Tucquan

    Tucquan Poo-Bah (2,799) Oct 11, 2007 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Yes. A very good Helles. I wonder if it’ll continue under ABV? Hasn’t been distributed yet in PA but is supposed to this month.
    FBarber likes this.
  33. Giantspace

    Giantspace Defender (677) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Jenkintown would be great......see ya later Neshaminy creek.........Like their beer just really dont like their pub

    Victory was my favorite brewery. Really liked Southern Tier as well. I have not had a beer from ST in a few years and Victory seems to have really lost what they were.

    I really hope Sixpoint can do well financially but also keep the things that made them great.

    Good luck Shane

    AMessenger and TongoRad like this.
  34. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,468) Mar 12, 2009 New York

    Same way they can be a NY brewery when every Sixpoint can of beer that gets distro is brewed in Tenn.
    rozzom, Tilley4, RobNewton and 4 others like this.
  35. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,361) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Well, that might be debatable considering that "...our taproom has been “Under Construction” for at least five years now."

    I thought about that when I read this line:
    "For 14 years, Sixpoint has remained 100% independent and self-sufficient, without any help or support from outside investors..."

    Sure, neither The Lion or City/Memphis were "outside investors" but contract-brewing beer at a larger regional and then at a "macro" sized brewery (Memphis was built as a 5m bbl capacity facility by Schlitz) is pretty "helpful" and not what some would consider "self-sufficient" in the brewing industry...

  36. Ranbot

    Ranbot Zealot (546) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Best wishes for Sixpoint. Victory and ST may be able to learn some tricks from Sixpoint too. Sixpoint has been sort of unique in being a regional brewer and local brewer at the same time, which I imagine is difficult to split business priorities like that. They may be able to help Victory and ST do the same and build up [or build back] their local reputation. Don't get me wrong, I like Victory beer, I know they produce a high quality product, and I have some pride that a craft beer icon in my proverbial backyard, but I do get the feeling rightly or wrongly that they are too big to care much about their local market. Sixpoint doesn't give me the same impression, despite being a larger regional brewer.

    Reverse "The Crisp" and "Alpenflo" in those sentences and I will agree with you. :wink: Alpenflo has very tough competition from Sly Fox Helles for space in my fridge. But The Crisp scratches an itch for me and I buy it regularly. Sly Fox Helles and The Crisp both get my wife's approval too, which helps.
    THANAT0PSIS likes this.
  37. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Champion (869) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I wouldn’t hold my breath.

    I haven’t seen Victory Lager or Southern Tier’s Helles (called “When the Helles is Summer” or something similar) in ages. Maybe it’s just my area?

    In fact I see less of those breweries now period.
    SunDevilBeer likes this.
  38. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,117) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    And mine.
    FBarber and AlcahueteJ like this.
  39. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (251) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    Solid isn't a bad word for me. I use mediocre and average below solid, so there is still some levels at play here. I have FW, bells, Deschutes, founders etc in that solid category. What we don't really need more of is mediocre guys like four peaks or golden road hogging up shelf space and tap handles. So maybe I should welcome more of these solid breweries. After all, they are still fighting against the same common Goliath

    This is where I'm at. It's going to be tough for these guys to get new established footing in new American markets. These three bring almost nothing new to many markets. I can see so many of these breweries going the export route. So as a three headed monster now, that bodes well for untapped markets. Not many left here.
    #40 Oktoberfiesta, Nov 8, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
    pjeagles and surfcaster like this.