Duvel Moortgat buys Boulevard Brewing Company

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by Todd, Oct 17, 2013.

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  1. Todd

    Todd Founder (6,314) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society Trader

    Boulevard Brewing Company and Duvel Moortgat USA to CombineTwo family-owned craft breweries see bright future in long-term partnership

    October 17, 2013 – Kansas City – In an agreement signed earlier this week, principals of Boulevard Brewing Company and Duvel Moortgat approved the combination of their US businesses. Boulevard, one of the largest craft brewers in the Midwest, and Duvel Moortgat, an independent craft brewer based in Belgium, will join forces to better promote the continued growth and success of their widely respected brands.

    A family-owned business spanning four generations, Duvel Moortgat produces premium beers including Duvel, Chouffe, and Liefmans at several breweries in Belgium. Duvel Moortgat’s US activities include a specialty beer import company and Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, NY. The Moortgat family will maintain their existing ownership structure in Europe, while John McDonald, founder of Boulevard Brewing Company, will be an important partner in the new US-based company. By uniting with Duvel Moortgat, Boulevard secures the resources to embark on a significant expansion of its Kansas City facilities, and gains the depth and experience of the 142-year-old firm to help extend its strong regional presence throughout the U.S. and Europe.

    “Since I started Boulevard in 1989, the company’s long-term future has always been top of mind,” said founder and president John McDonald. “I wanted to find a way to take the business to the next level while retaining its essence, its people, its personality—all the characteristics that make our beer and our brewery so important to Kansas City and the Midwest. Duvel Moortgat’s commitment to quality and independence, and their proven record helping breweries fulfill their potential, made this a perfect fit and an easy decision.”

    “Our path for growth became abundantly clear as I got to know John and Boulevard,” said Michel Moortgat, CEO of Duvel Moortgat. “Our companies share the same values. We have great mutual respect for each other’s achievements and maintain a deeply-held belief in exceptional quality as the platform for long-term success. Even as recently as this week I was happy to learn that both Boulevard and Brewery Ommegang won 3 medals at the prestigious Great American Beer Fest. Together, with our combined strengths and our mutual obsession for outstanding beers, I’m convinced that one plus one equals three.”

    McDonald intends to remain closely involved with Boulevard in Kansas City, where the base of operations will remain. He will be intimately involved in Duvel Moortgat’s activities in the US, with a stake in the combined company and a seat on its board. Boulevard will maintain its leading role on sustainability initiatives, including support for Ripple Glass, the glass recycling company founded by McDonald and other brewery principals in 2009.

    The transaction between the two privately-held companies is expected to close by the end of the year; no financial details will be disclosed. First Beverage Group acted as advisor to Boulevard. Further information will be released as it becomes available.

    About Duvel Moortgat
    Founded in 1871, Duvel Moortgat is an independent producer of authentic specialty beers and premium brands. The company is considered to be among the world’s foremost brewers of specialty craft beer, a position underpinned by the success of its best-selling product, Duvel, which is available in more than 40 countries. Visitduvel.com for more information.

    About Boulevard Brewing Company
    Boulevard Brewing Company has grown to become one of the largest specialty brewers in the Midwest, dedicated to the craft of producing fresh, flavorful beers using traditional ingredients and the best of both old and new brewing techniques. Boulevard beers are distributed in 25 states and in the District of Columbia. For more information, visit www.boulevard.com, boulevard.com/facebook, or follow the company on Twitter atboulevard.com/twitter.

    About Brewery Ommegang
    Brewery Ommegang, located on a 136-acre farmstead in Cooperstown, NY, is regarded by many as the most beautiful brewery in America. The company opened in 1997 to brew fine Belgian-style craft beers, which are now distributed in 45 states. The brewery offers daily tours and tastings as well as a 100-seat café and an annual calendar of events, concerts and beer festivals. For more information, visit www.ommegang.com. Follow Ommegang on Twitter @BreweryOmmegang, Facebook.com/Ommegang, and on Instagram @BreweryOmmegang.

    ###

    Clip from the New York Times:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/18/business/belgian-brewery-buys-boulevard-a-us-craft-beer-maker.html
    Letter from John McDonald to Boulevard fans:
    http://www.boulevard.com/a-letter-from-our-founder/
    Duvel Moortgat Shopping for US Breweries
    http://beeradvocate.com/community/threads/duvel-moortgat-shopping-for-us-breweries.108391/
     
  2. bobcatjones

    bobcatjones Initiate (0) Sep 19, 2013 Colorado

    Exciting news for those who worked so hard to make Boulevard one of the best American breweries today. I'm sure they're excited to see what Duvel can do for their brand in Europe. Congrats.

    This is the tip of the iceberg, my friends... buckle your seatbelts
     
  3. RobinLee

    RobinLee Zealot (548) Feb 15, 2012 Wisconsin

    Let's hope this means wider distribution.
     
    dagimp, Premo88, ceeg and 10 others like this.
  4. DapperGrowler

    DapperGrowler Initiate (0) Jan 12, 2012 District of Columbia

    This is the canary in the coal mine of a trend towards craft brewery consolidation (not that it is necessarily a bad thing).
     
    azorie, surfcaster, charlzm and 3 others like this.
  5. jroberts8811

    jroberts8811 Initiate (0) Jan 19, 2013 Missouri

    As a long-time Kansas Citian, I'm saddened by this acquisition. Boulevard is entrenched in our community and is a classic American example of a successful enterprise built on hard work and determination. The largest brewery in the country is only 4 hours east - that's no small feat to take on. Though I love Duvel, it's not what comes to mind when I think of my hometown. Headed to the cellar for a bottle of Original Boulevard suds.
     
    KevSal, FPWolff, luwak and 7 others like this.
  6. Stevedore

    Stevedore Poo-Bah (6,052) Nov 16, 2012 Oregon
    Society Trader

    Great, these bottles of Saison-Brett just went from $11.99 to $19.99. Since Duvel is pushing that whole "luxury brand" pricing thing, re: Ommegang.
     
    denver10, mattafett, dagimp and 9 others like this.
  7. Rollzroyce21

    Rollzroyce21 Initiate (0) Oct 24, 2009 California

    If this means more Smokestack series brews available without losing the quality, then congrats to the breweries and everyone in craftbeerdom.
     
    iCabaLLero and Bosoxfan20 like this.
  8. Rollzroyce21

    Rollzroyce21 Initiate (0) Oct 24, 2009 California


    I was beginning to think the same, but can't imagine the prices going up just solely due to the merger.
     
  9. Jnorton00

    Jnorton00 Initiate (0) Apr 13, 2007 Massachusetts

    The butthurt on their facebook post about this is hilarious! Everyone is of course calling them sellouts and saying they will no longer support them because they're "foreign owned"... :rolling_eyes:
     
    DemoniChris, Bung and JrGtr like this.
  10. Chirpie

    Chirpie Initiate (0) Jan 19, 2012 Kansas

    As a local of the KC area, I'm saddened by the news. The world needs more mid-sized breweries, not more conglomerate umbrellas. Sure, not everyone was able to get a brew form them, but if they all could, I doubt the quality control could be as good. Also, as they were local, even if the beers taste exactly the same, it's not as good as it was for me, because I know where my money is going. The local pride will be hurt for a while, and I'll probably sip on some other local suds besides Boulevard while I mull this one over.
     
  11. ncstateplaya

    ncstateplaya Initiate (0) Nov 8, 2008 North Carolina


    Much like the fallout with Goose Island, everyone is going to be disgusted by BCBS and they will now become shelf turds...
     
  12. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Initiate (0) Aug 29, 2012 Nebraska

    A part of me is excited--of course it's good news for two quality brewers from Belgium and the U.S. to join forces--Ommegang has done just fine in light of their Duvel Moortgat ownership.

    The other part of me worries that 1) the prices may increase, as I have spoken to people who noted that Ommegang's prices went up across the board after the Duvel purchase, 2) Boulevard won't give as much special attention to their local market, as the do currently, and 3) I'll lose all my trade bait--KS/MO aren't big on hard-to-get-beers, so if I ever wanted something from outside my distro area, I was pretty much dependent upon the limited seasonals--BBQ, Saison-Brett, Imperial Stout and Rye-on-Rye (and Love Child).

    In the long run, this is probably good news. Especially if it ends up creating jobs, which in turn allows Boulevard to continue growing and being successful.
     
    luwak and PaulyB83 like this.
  13. Chirpie

    Chirpie Initiate (0) Jan 19, 2012 Kansas

    Heck yeah. It wouldn't be any different than if your local sports team was bought and then ran by out of towners. Why WOULDN'T we be upset? We were the original supporters after all.
     
  14. Stevedore

    Stevedore Poo-Bah (6,052) Nov 16, 2012 Oregon
    Society Trader

    If this happened to New Glarus, I'd probably be sad too. So while I'm glad I don't feel the way you do, I agree with your sentiment.
     
    FPWolff likes this.
  15. ncstateplaya

    ncstateplaya Initiate (0) Nov 8, 2008 North Carolina


    Chirpie, I understand being bummed, even feeling a little betrayed...and I'm not saying you in general, but people no longer supporting the brewery "they" helped build...that seems a little far fetched and ridiculous.
     
    offthelevel_bytheplumb and Bung like this.
  16. Chirpie

    Chirpie Initiate (0) Jan 19, 2012 Kansas

    Appreciate the sentiment. It's not the end of the world, but it does mar the local flavor. :wink:
     
  17. JeffZeltwanger

    JeffZeltwanger Initiate (0) Jan 28, 2011 Missouri

    As a resident of KC I am bummed out by this as well. This may be the new trend, but not really sure why this was necessary other than to increase presence and profit. It's ok to be small or mid-size and not have your beer everywhere, we don't need to turn everything into a conglomeration.

    Boulevard won't really feel like a local brewery anymore, and my desire to drink their stuff has ended for the time being, unless there are no other options.
     
  18. errantnight

    errantnight Savant (931) Jul 7, 2005 District of Columbia
    Trader

    I have no disagreement with anything you write except this: if anything with a broader distribution footprint and new owners QC will only increase. I'm not saying: "and that's why you should love this deal!" I'm just saying of all the many very valid concerns, quality control isn't one of them.
     
  19. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Initiate (0) Aug 29, 2012 Nebraska

    Fellow Kansas Citians--isn't a part of you proud that our local brand is now more likely to reach the far corners of the Earth? Just look at what wider distribution has done for places like Ommegang, Sierra Nevada and New Belgium. Those are all household names.

    While I share some misgivings, those doubts are buoyed by the notion of my hometown favorite becoming more well-known and an even greater source of pride about Kansas City. At the very least, a wait-and-see approach here seems reasonable.

    Edit: and if you don't think John McDonald weighed this decision heavily before taking any actions, they you don't know his dedication for and love of his company and craft beer. He wasn't going to run that place forever, and if you read his quotes in the NYT article, it sounds like he felt this was the best option in terms of finding a good steward of the Boulevard brand. Until I have reason to believe otherwise, I'm going to trust his judgement.
     
  20. Chirpie

    Chirpie Initiate (0) Jan 19, 2012 Kansas


    There's only so many barrels of templeton rye you can age your brew in, and Rye-On-Rye only lasts a day in our market as it is. :wink:
     
    russpowell likes this.
  21. harperman69

    harperman69 Initiate (0) Feb 11, 2009 Tennessee

    I'm hopeful they get put back in TN now. Sure do miss some Sixth Glass and Double Wide.
     
    Josiah2729 likes this.
  22. grantcty

    grantcty Initiate (131) Feb 17, 2008 Minnesota
    Trader

    My biggest concern as well, but it's not even with the Smokestack series. Boulevard 12 packs are a really nice deal for the beer and if they start jacking up the price (like what's happened with Ommegang), it looks like my dollars will go elsewhere.
     
    Chirpie likes this.
  23. nriech

    nriech Initiate (0) Mar 9, 2005 Virginia

    Simmer down people. You would be surprised what they have done for Ommegang with relatively little interference. Theres a new bottling line there that they wouldn't have been able to purchase on their own. Also a new tasting room and kitchen. Other than that, the place is the same as it was. So only improvements.
     
  24. yuichituba

    yuichituba Initiate (0) Dec 1, 2005 Japan

    It hasn't stopped people from buying Goose Island's beers post-Anheuser. The quality is still there and they're still producing more new high-end beers.

    And yes, same goes for Ommegang from my hometown.
     
  25. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (566) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts

    Because sometimes out of towners can run it better. Steinbrenner was from Ohio and made a business decision to buy the Yankees.
     
  26. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2008 California

    The acquisition of GI helped that company brew more of their best beers and expanded distribution. Hopefully this arrangement benefits Boulevard in the same way.
     
  27. COBeerBuff

    COBeerBuff Initiate (0) Jan 4, 2009 Kansas

    I'm excited and nervous about this acquisition, all at the same time. Boulevard is such a great local brewery, and I hope that the transition from local ownership to Duvel's ownership is completely seamless with no loss of quality and no impact on the greater Kansas City area.

    http://www.boulevard.com/a-letter-from-our-founder/
     
    LambicPentameter likes this.
  28. aubzachsyd

    aubzachsyd Initiate (0) Oct 7, 2013 Iowa

    Just don't change the beer and don't get rid of the barrel aging program. If I have to pay more than so be it. Everything else is going up in price.
     
    luwak likes this.
  29. bbeane

    bbeane Initiate (0) May 10, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Wahhhh!!! Get over it people. This is going to happen over and over again in years to come. I think this is a really interesting partnership, and could bring forth some exciting beers . Be glad it isn't a part of the AB-InBev family now, and is instead combining with another quality, family owned brewery.
     
  30. jsboots21

    jsboots21 Initiate (0) Jan 19, 2009 Tennessee

    If this is a concern, voice it to Duvel Moortgat, not here on a board full of probably like-minded beer enthusiasts. If you and enough others warn them about increasing pricing, they might just listen. If you continue posting here, it's likely your message will not be heard.
     
  31. grantcty

    grantcty Initiate (131) Feb 17, 2008 Minnesota
    Trader

    I couldn't disagree with you more as to what I should/shouldn't be posting on a message board about beer and I don't need to tell Duvel Moortgat anything. If they raise the price, I'll just stop buying Boulevard. Pretty simple. There are plenty of other offerings that are just as good.
     
  32. mattisloco

    mattisloco Disciple (306) Feb 13, 2007 Texas

    I small piece of me just died. It wasn't my penis.
     
  33. JeffZeltwanger

    JeffZeltwanger Initiate (0) Jan 28, 2011 Missouri


    Plenty of product to choose from right now, so if people don't want to accept the fact that congolmerations are the new norm, they have lots of options. I may be in the minority, but if something is good that doesn't mean the main goal should be to expand and make more...
     
    Chirpie likes this.
  34. beatenbyjacks

    beatenbyjacks Initiate (0) Apr 17, 2011 Colorado

    Having the ability to get paid A LOT of money for what you have worked your butt off for is not something that just comes about daily. While there are a lot of concerns towards what will happen with Boulevard I think this is good for the beer community as a whole.
    Boulevard - more distribution, possible Ommegang collaborations, more $$$ to invest in the business
    Duvel - more distribution possibly for themselves and Ommegang
    Local scene - for all those who won't drink Boulevard any longer the next Boulevard is looking at you! Lots of nano and small breweries should be the beneficiaries of those lost beer dollars
    Beer drinkers - more beer for all
     
  35. Gorillahead

    Gorillahead Initiate (0) Oct 15, 2013 Missouri

    If quality and price stay where they are I will continue to buy Boulevard.
     
  36. Chirpie

    Chirpie Initiate (0) Jan 19, 2012 Kansas


    I just wish they would've gone the route of Schlafly when it came to keeping the financial backing at least in-state.

    You're right about the local scene though. Flying Monkey, Freestate, Cinderblock, Side Project Brewing, O'Fallen, etc. now have a bigger opening. Time for them to do something with it.
     
    JeffZeltwanger and DrAwkward82 like this.
  37. Lansman

    Lansman Aspirant (248) Mar 19, 2011 Missouri
    Trader

    This is debatable. InBev moved production out of Chicago for some of their flagship brands and these new bottled variants being produced in different locations (i.e., not Chicago) have changed the product permanently, and not necessarily for the better, depending on who you ask, of course.

    As for production of new high-end beers, GI just released the new 2013 sours this week in new packaging and at a (significantly) higher price than what had previously been produced. (Juliet is now $24.99 and up around Chicagoland, as one example). Whether that is a product of the takeover is subject to debate, of course.
     
    BlastBeats and yuichituba like this.
  38. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Initiate (0) Aug 29, 2012 Nebraska

    If you read the NYT article, McDonald was apparently in talks with local Missouri financing institutions. He went to Duvel after not really getting where he wanted to go. Someone already posted it here, but I would stress to anyone who is worried about this move, read the following letter and see if it doesn't assuage some of your concerns:

    http://www.boulevard.com/a-letter-from-our-founder/

    It really helps you understand that this move was not simply about money for McDonald, but for find the best possible way for the legacy of Boulevard beer, whom McDonald considers one of his children (in the letter), to continue on long after he has departed.

    The number of "ERMAGERD A FOREIGN OWNER!!!!" comments that I'm seeing on the Facebook post is really making KC beer fans look like a bunch of ignorant hicks. That's sadder to me than anything about the actual transaction between Duvel and Boulevard.

    On a fun side note, if you rearrange the letters of Boulevard the right way, it spells out "Duvel or AB". Personally, I'd gladly choose Duvel over other larger brewers like AB when it comes to purchasing my favorite hometown brewery.
     
    Oasis, Kurmaraja, PrestonD and 8 others like this.
  39. BedetheVenerable

    BedetheVenerable Initiate (0) Sep 5, 2008 Missouri

    Blvd has long bee one of my favorite breweries and I'm proud to call them local. However, in the business change is constant. They could not have chosen a better partner...family owned and with an immense pedigree. To me, this seems move that was carefully and painstakingly considered for the betterment of the company. For those straight-up saying they won't buy their beer anymore just cos of who owns it at the top, who's abandoning whom? Will there no longer be KC people working there or involved?
     
  40. Hdredfern

    Hdredfern Initiate (0) Feb 16, 2012 Texas

    I like the move, I think it will benefit both companies in the long run and help keep it away from vultures like AB and other macro brands.
     
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