Boston Beer Co., the Sam Adams brewer, saw it shares jump after it announced the acquisition of Dogfish Head Brewery in a deal valued at $300 million, combining two well-known craft beer pioneers in the U.S.
It’s the largest acquisition in the history of Boston Beer, which was founded in 1984 and in recent years has added products like Angry Orchard cider, Twisted Tea and spiked seltzer. But until now, the company hadn’t diversified much in beer beyond Sam Adams.
The rise of brands like Dogfish, started about 23 years ago in Delaware as a tiny craft brewery, have put a dent in the sales of beer-industry leaders like Bud Light and Coors. Now Dogfish is combining with Sam Adams at a time when craft beer has slowed down from its initial boom.
Boston Beer saw an opportunity to pounce, at least in part because the valuations of craft beer companies have come down, according to CEO Dave Burwick.
“We feel like now is the time to fortify and grow our beer business,” Burwick said in an interview. “We’re committed to craft beer for the long term.”
As part of the transaction, Dogfish founder Sam Calagione and his family will get $127 million in Boston Beer stock, becoming the second largest non-institutional shareholders after Jim Koch, the founder of Boston Beer. The deal also includes $173 million in cash that is primarily being used to buy out a stake in Dogfish held by the private equity firm LNK Partners, according to Burwick.
The purchase will give Boston Beer a bigger presence in IPA and sour beer, two popular styles, the CEO said. The Sam Adams brand has struggled as some drinkers turn away from beer — Americans drank less alcohol each of the last three years, with the giant light brands leading the decline.