Lagunitas buys stake in three smaller breweries

Lagunitas Brewing announced that it is taking a stake in three breweries in different parts of the country and it will open up buildings in Portland, Oregon, and San Diego that nonprofits can use for fundraisers. Financial terms of the investments were not disclosed. The purchases were all funded by Lagunitas and did not require any capital outlay from Heineken, which bought a 50 percent share of Lagunitas last year.

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Lagunitas founder Tony Magee said, “I would call it expansion. In consolidation, you’re looking for synergies and bringing efficiencies and trying to shrink the pool of competitors. This is really about all of us expanding our experience base, our understanding of things and growing our businesses at the same time.”

The stakes are in Southend Brewery and Smokehouse in Charleston, S.C., Independence Brewing Co. in Austin, Texas, and Moonlight Brewing in Santa Rosa, Calif.

“These aren’t conquests … it’s not for scale,” Magee told a local newspaper. “This a thread to make more local connections.”

Moonlight founder Brian Hunt said the opportunity “to secure Moonlight’s future into the next generation” was the driving factor along with his friendship of Magee, who he has known since 1993.

“I’m almost 60 now and I don’t know how long I’m going to keep doing this,” said Hunt. “I got other things going on my life. I don’t want to run a brewery until the day I fall under.”

When asked by the Tribune if there would be more deals, Magee answered, “Oh, yeah. I want to do more than three. I want to make a bunch of these relationships. This is a beginning, not an end point of anything.”