Belgium’s Duvel Moortgat Brewery today announced a deal to buy Boulevard Brewing in Kansas City, the 12-largest craft brewery in the United States.
Michel Moorgat, whose family owns the Belgian company, indicated that it plans to expand distribution of Boulevard both in the United States and throughout the world. “I see here in Europe that consumers are getting more and more interested in American craft beers,” he told The New York Times. “In the future, with this partnership, we will be able to develop the taste for those beers more substantially here and in other countries like Japan and China.”
Boulevard founder John McDonald will remain a “substantial” shareholder and have a seat on the board in the combined company. Boulevard will sell about 180,000 barrels (a barrels contains 31 gallons of beer) this year, but ultimately, with the investment Moortgat will provide, could make more than 800,000 barrels. Its flagship Unfiltered Wheat accounts for well over half of production, but it is better known among beer fans for its Smokestack series. That includes regular offerings like Tank 7 as well as seasonal releases such as Saison Brett and Bourbon Barrel Quad.
“Since I started Boulevard in 1989, the company’s long-term future has always been top of mind,” McDonald said. “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.”
“Our path for growth became abundantly clear as I got to know John and Boulevard,” Moortgat said. “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.”
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.
Moortgat was one of the original members of the partnership that started Brewery Ommegang in 1996, and eventually bought 100 percent control of that brewery. As well as brewing the iconic Duvel it owns several other brands in Europe, including La Chouffe and De Knoninck.