New Belgium Brewing announces sale to Lion Little World Beverages (Kirin Holdings Company Limited)

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by ypsifly, Nov 19, 2019.

  1. officerbill

    officerbill Devotee (433) Feb 9, 2019 New York

    From a 2018 translation of Japanese news articles (
    Kirin's Japanese site shows they brew Heineken, Guinness, and Brooklyn Lager (huh?)
  2. officerbill

    officerbill Devotee (433) Feb 9, 2019 New York

    I discovered it a couple of years ago at our local Japanese restaurant. While pouring a Kirin I happened to notice “Brewed under strict supervision...” on the label, so I ordered a Sapporo next and read--brewed in Canada :confused:
  3. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,908) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Next time order an Asahi....
    (if you want a different Canadian-brewed Japanese beer...).

    Well, as least they own that one.
    "Sleeman Breweries has grown to become the third-largest brewer in Canada .. acquired in 2006 by Sapporo Breweries."

    FORTUNE, OCT. 2016 - Brooklyn Brewery Sold a 24% Stake to Japan’s Kirin
  4. Crusader

    Crusader Aspirant (295) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    I thought it was strange to see Weihenstephaner as the contract brewer for Kirin in Europe, but then again it (Ichiban) is an all malt beer. I imagine there are more benefits to having ABInbev brew their beer than there are drawbacks, especially if they can make use of AB breweries close to their primary markets (the US coasts?).
    officerbill likes this.
  5. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,908) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    As the article officerbill posted above (#161), the original deal between between Kirin and AB was a joint venture, so more involved that the normal licensing deal (in this case, licensing for both companies to brew each others' flagships) and even resulted in the unusual deal, below/right.
    Kirin was the world's #4 brewer at the time (AB still #1, of course) - until some Belgian outfit called Interbrew bought Canada's Labatt in 1995.

    In a previous thread on this topic, IIRC, a poster said he'd toured AB's Van Nuys, CA brewery and Kirin actually has a separate brewhouse on site. :thinking_face: I've never confirmed that claim.
  6. Crusader

    Crusader Aspirant (295) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    Gotcha. I was going to ask if the Ice Beer was intended for the US or Japanese market but found the answer when I did some googleing. That's quite an unusual agreement I agree, having beer brewed across the Pacific ocean as a cost saving measure.

    I found an LA Times article from 1996 where it says:

    "Kirin is building a new brewing facility at the Van Nuys plant, which Anheuser-Busch considered closing in the early ‘90s. Production is scheduled to begin next month."
  7. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,908) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Yeah, sorry - linked to the wrong image, had two articles on the Ice Beer and my "Edit" period timed out...

    Hmmm... interesting. Don't recall hearing that Van Nuys was ever on the chopping block (it is their 3rd oldest but also one of their largest at 12M bbl/yr capacity). They even list Kirin brands on the page for the brewery (not real common to list beers brewed under contract/license, altho' MC does (or did) list some Pabst brands (Old Milwaukee, Stag, Schlitz) under their Ft. Worth, TX brewery).
  8. Kahn13

    Kahn13 Initiate (15) Jul 22, 2018 Arkansas

    What a personal disappointment for me. I loved their Abbey Ale.
  9. southdenverhoo

    southdenverhoo Disciple (388) Aug 13, 2004 Colorado

    Yes at our store Voodoo Ranger Imperial outsells Voodoo Ranger at least 2 to 1, maybe more.
  10. ovaltine

    ovaltine Poo-Bah (2,872) Apr 6, 2010 Indiana
    Society Trader

    The first "craft" beer I had was Boulevard Pale Ale, circa August 2005.

    The second "craft" beer I had was NB Fat Tire, circa December 2005.

    At Little O's grad party in June 2009, the beer I chose to (responsibly) enjoy was NB Mighty Arrow. There was a time when Fat Tire was ALWAYS in my beer fridge, and overall I've had 37 of their beers, but in the last 3 or 4 years, I've not had much of their stuff. For the most part, their beers were similar (to me) to Sam's beers in that the "edges" seemed to be rounded off.

    "Drink Fresh/Drink Local" is very real and has breweries like NB in their cross hairs, IMHO. This acquisition allows some people from NB to realize some cash, but I think this goes like Constellation's acquisition of Ballast Point, where the acquired brand is marginalized even further.

    One interesting caveat is what Kirin can do with NB's capacity with two relatively large facilities that cover the continental US, and if it allows them to exit their brewing agreement with AB/InBev. That may be the nugget for them.
    bluejacket74 likes this.
  11. Giantspace

    Giantspace Crusader (751) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    At one point 12 plus years ago Fat Tire was a really nice tasty almost bread like beer. The last time I had some was a couple years ago and it came across as sweet and thin. Not what I remembered.

    I did drink a ton of the slow ride when it was first released.

    Do they still use those nice “collared” bottles? I’ve only seen cans around the last few years.

    thesherrybomber likes this.
  12. thesherrybomber

    thesherrybomber Initiate (145) Jun 13, 2017 California

    I thought it was sweeter, too, but chalked that up to shifting preferences
  13. jkrich

    jkrich Meyvn (1,230) Nov 1, 2001 Florida

    Is that $100,000.00 before taxes? Of course not. For employees who have been there from the beginning (30 years) that amount ain't much.
  14. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,005) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    When I sold King Fisher from India which was brewed in England I was always encouraged. I think the brand has been "around", but the English brewed bottling was pretty good.
  15. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,908) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Hmmm... that got me interested in the current situation with Kingfisher...Looks like, with the closing of UB-owned Mendocino and Saratoga Brewing Co's., which brewed Kingfisher domestically, Kingfisher in the US is currently being imported from the UK (it was coming out of Heineken* brewery in Edinburgh, now from Cameron's) as well as brewed at F X Matt (left) - looks like it's based on bottle size (650 ml / 12 oz.).

    *Heineken, last I looked, owned nearly half of the troubled UB in India as well as a minority share of Cameron.

    #175 jesskidden, Nov 24, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2019
  16. islay

    islay Disciple (317) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota

    Because the shares are held in an ESOP, and the sale proceeds are going to be rolled over into an IRA, they're not going to have to pay taxes on the sale proceeds until they start taking IRA distributions, typically in retirement. Also, any of the surely very few employees that might have been there since the beginning likely have well over $100,000 in shares.

    What do people want? The entire value of the company is split among at least hundreds, perhaps over a thousand, employees. They can't all become millionaires from the sale because the company simply isn't worth nearly that much, and it isn't ever going to be (at least on an inflation-adjusted basis). "Employee-owned" doesn't mean every employee has a large enough stake to get rich. And $100,000+ invested in any one company is way more than any non-multi-millionaire, non-entrepreneur ideally should have; ordinary investors ought to be a lot more widely diversified.

    If I were a New Belgium employee, I'd be all about this sale, because I think, given the direction the craft beer industry and New Belgium in particular are heading, it represents a very generous valuation, and if New Belgium held out, its eventual sale price is more likely to go down than up. And frankly I'd be annoyed that New Belgium didn't sell out several years earlier when a billion-dollar realized valuation was conceivable. A lot of owners of craft breweries are kicking themselves for "sticking to their principles" (which in most cases translates to "holding out for even more money") and not "selling out" in the mid '10s when the market was hot.
  17. Singlefinpin

    Singlefinpin Aspirant (273) Jul 17, 2018 North Carolina

    Is the pint glass half full or is it half empty?
    Is the buyout the employees get great? Or, would they all be better off as an employee owned business in the future?
    Any one here care to comment in the history of employee owned businesses in general?
    Me? I will mostly continue to support small breweries that can their beer within a small local radius.
  18. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,908) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    New Belgium Employee Owners Vote in Favor* of Sale to Kirin-Owner Lion Little World Beverages ... but not without some controversy:
    * The local paper, The Coloradoan, noted - "New Belgium has declined to release the number of employees who voted or a breakdown on how they voted."
  19. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,311) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    “The vote comes a week after human rights groups urged the craft brewery’s employee owners to vote against the sale due to Japanese beer giant Kirin’s ties to Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd. (MEHL), whose chairman, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, is accused of carrying out a military operation with “genocidal intent” against the Rohingya Muslims in the country.”

    I will set my timer to see how long before the “Boycott New Belgium” thread gets started.

  20. ManBearPat

    ManBearPat Devotee (474) Dec 2, 2014 Colorado

    Seems like a reasonable thing to boycott, assuming you’re human.
  21. stairway2heavn

    stairway2heavn Initiate (47) Aug 17, 2017 New Jersey

    I know putting "Cheers" at the end of a post is your thing but you're pretty much trolling to roll that out after brushing off very serious concerns about severe human rights abuses. Are you arguing with the general's actual involvement? Whether attempted genocide is ok? Whether it's actually happening? Whether, perhaps, it might be reasonable to you know, buy different beer that doesn't support a guy who supported genocide?
  22. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,311) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I am not making any arguments as you allude to above at all.

    I hope you have a Merry Christmas!
    GetMeAnIPA and ManBearPat like this.
  23. BallantineBurton

    BallantineBurton Initiate (89) Jan 22, 2012 Massachusetts

    I am jumping in late to this discussion. It's too bad to loose another craft brewer as defined by the Brewers Association and this is a significant number of barrels. Buyouts by large brewers will continue to occur as economics is a very powerful force. But I am very concerned about what I have read about Kirin's involvement in Myanmar Economic Holdings. As an employee of New Belgium I would hesitate to be acquired by this company. But again, money is very powerful. I think we as consumers must decide where to park our beer spending dollars. I still have great local options when it comes to good craft beer.
    unlikelyspiderperson likes this.
  24. PNW

    PNW Initiate (133) Dec 23, 2019 Washington
    Society Trader

    As disappointing as this one was, and it's a blow for sure, tne silver lining to this whole thing is now I'm aware of the Kirin groups role in the genocide of Rohingya Muslim's in Myanmar. That news did not bubble up until a large American brewer got involved. It's unfortunate that the employee owners went along with the sale, but that was a real difficult situation they were put in. The one thing I know is I've had my last Fat Tire.
    DBosco likes this.
  25. Grave252

    Grave252 Initiate (52) Mar 12, 2017 Minnesota

    Just an FYI but if you drink Coke products in the Northeast, you are supporting Kirin there too. They essentially own the distribution for seven states in the north east.

    As for the sale, this was a good option for all owners. You can’t act like NB was some stable conglomerate that was going to go unaffected by people’s shift to hyper local beer. ESOP’s don’t just print money unless the company is doing well, and all signs pointed to NB being on a downward path. It’s literally free money if you are a shareholder, in an ESOP you don’t contribute anything but your work. I’d be happy to get my distribution at a good value rather than wait it out and hope the company doesn’t fade into obscurity and leave my shares worthless.
  26. BeerDrinkinGuy

    BeerDrinkinGuy Initiate (52) Nov 2, 2018 Minnesota

    I actually bought a sample pack recently for old time sake and can say there are some decent beers in here. [​IMG]
  27. Miles_in_beer_city

    Miles_in_beer_city Devotee (404) Jun 18, 2014 North Carolina

    NB makes some good beer, and I have enjoyed a bunch of it, both retail, and at the brewery. But I've probably made my last purchase of NB beer, as is the case with Wicked Weed, who also makes great beer, and the other 'local' brewery to sell out.
    I understand the power of $$$$, in both cases, especially when employees that have been there long enough to be 'owners' are offered a $100K buy out, and I guess still keep their job. A great jump start on an individuals retirement nestegg, especially for the younger employees.
    I wonder what employees talk about now to customers. Most I have talked to at the brewery/tasting room want to make sure I knew they were an owner.

    There is just too much really great beer out there to support these huge corporations with my dollars, I'll support the other 50+ local breweries.
    ManBearPat and jasonmason like this.