Craft-Beer Brewer Lagunitas Sets Sites on International Markets

New 50% shareholder Heineken N.V. to help drive that growth

Heineken purchases 50% share of Lagunitas Brewing

AMSTERDAM -- Heineken N.V. has acquired a 50% shareholding in the Lagunitas Brewing Co., the fifth-largest craft brewer in the United States by volume.

Lagunitas owns a stable of award-winning brands, including Lagunitas IPA. Lagunitas IPA is the largest India Pale Ale brand in the United States and has become a benchmark for the category.

The transaction will provide Heineken with the opportunity to build a strong foothold in the dynamic craft-brewing category on a global scale, while it provides Lagunitas with a global opportunity to present its beers to new consumers in a category that is showing international growth opportunities.

Founded in California in 1993, Lagunitas is estimated to sell 1 million hectolitres of beer in 2015 from its two breweries in Petaluma, Calif., and Chicago. A third brewery is currently under construction in Azusa, Calif.

The brewer has a strong track record of growth, with 2012 through 2014 revenue CAGR at 58%. Its other leading brands include A Little Sumpin' Sumpin', Daytime, Pils, Sucks, Hop Stoopid and Maximus. Lagunitas has a nationwide presence in the United States, and the brewer has expanded into a number of other markets including the U.K., Canada, Sweden and Japan, offering strong potential for continued growth outside the United States.

In the United States, craft beer continues to outperform the overall beer market and now represents 11% of total volumes. Within the craft segment, IPA is the fastest-growing category. The Lagunitas purchase is Heineken's first move into the craft-beer subcategory in the United States.

Lagunitas will continue to be led by Tony Magee, its founder and executive chairman, alongside the existing management team, and the company will continue to operate as an independent entity.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2015. Financial terms are not disclosed.

"We are very excited to partner with Lagunitas. We recognize and respect the tremendous success of Tony and his team in building one of the great U.S. craft beer brands,” said Jean-François van Boxmeer, chairman of the executive board & CEO of Heineken. “We look forward to that same team partnering with us to expand Lagunitas globally, so it can reach parts of the world that other craft beer brands have not."

Magee added, "This venture will create a way for Lagunitas to let Heineken participate in the growing craft-beer category across its global distribution network in places from Tierra Del Fuego and Mongolia to the far-flung Isle of Langerhans. Lagunitas will share in the best-quality processes in the world and enjoy access to opportunities that took lifetimes to build.

“This alliance with the world's most international brewer represents a profound victory for U.S. craft. It will open doors that had previously been shut and bring the U.S. craft-beer vibe to communities all over the world."