MillerCoors has agreed to acquire a majority interest in San
Diego-based craft brewer Saint Archer Brewing, with the goal of taking
its hoppy ales national, the company said today.
which debuted in 2013 and brews five year-round beers, including a pale
ale, an IPA, a blonde ale and a white ale, operates a 33,000-square-foot
brewery in San Diego and distributes throughout California.
The transaction is expected to close in October. Financial terms were not disclosed.
the first major craft acquisition for Chicago-based MillerCoors since
it bought Minneapolis cider-maker Crispin Cider in 2012. It also owns
Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing and Blue Moon Brewing. MillerCoors, via its
craft division Tenth & Blake, also has a 25 percent stake in
Two-year-old Saint Archer is on track to brew about
35,000 barrels this year, said co-founder and President Josh Landan,
who will retain a minority stake in the company and continue to manage
it. The brewery also plans to start production of hard cider later this
year, provided it secures licensing.
"One of the things that was
attractive to us is (Landan) believes and we believe (Saint Archer) can
become a strong national player down the road,” said Scott Whitley,
president of Tenth & Blake. "They have a complementary portfolio of
high-quality beers. It's accretive to us instead of layering on top of
the business we already have.”
Whitley said MillerCoors—a joint
venture between Molson Coors, based in Denver and Montreal, and
London-based SABMiller that's best-known for light American lagers like
Miller Lite and Coors Light—is underindexed in hop-forward beers like
pale ales and India pale ales, both of which Saint Archer brews.
Archer will continue to brew its own beers, at least in the near term,
but will benefit from MillerCoors' heft in procurement, distribution and
processes. Whitley promised a "light-touch governance.”
said the majority of his beers are sold in California's three largest
metro areas: San Francisco, Los Angeles and Saint Archer's hometown of
San Diego. His top-selling styles are a Kolsch-style blonde ale on draft
and an IPA in bottles and cans.
He said his business plan never
included a plan to sell to a larger brewer, but as the brewery's rapid
growth accelerated, it had trouble keeping up with demand.
goal was to sell as much beer as we can in California and ultimately
become a nationwide beer,” Landan said. "But this was never part of our
The acquisition is the latest in a flurry of
activity in the craft beer space. Earlier this week, Dutch-based brewing
giant Heineken International took a 50 percent stake in
California-based Lagunitas Brewing, one of the U.S.' top craft brewers.
And last week, Goose Island Brewing, the Chicago-based division of
Anheuser-Busch InBev, took a majority share of Virtue Cider of