After more than a year of speculation that Tampa, Florida based Cigar City Brewing would be purchased by Anheuser-Busch InBev, the brewery is selling a controlling stake to someone else- Oskar Blues Holdings.
We held off on running this story until we could get full clarification on what transpired today. Beer Street Journal spoke to Chad Melis of Oskar Blues, who simplified the details for us.
In early 2015, Oskar Blues gave up a controlling stake in the brewery to Boston based private-equity firm Fireman Capital. The move, according to brewery founder Dale Katechis, would protect the business he built, and allow Oskar Blues to continue their growth trajectory. (OB will distribute to all 50 states by mid-2016.) Shortly after the equity sell, the new Oskar Blues Holding Group purchased Perrin Brewing in Comstock Park, Michigan.
Oskar Blues Holdings now also owns the Utah Brewers Cooperative group that includes Wasatch and Squatters.
Today, Cigar City Brewing was acquired by Oskar Blues Holdings, and will join the four other breweries. The mission is simple. To create a dynamic, symbiotic craft brewery based partnership, and to secure each other’s future. Together, they will become United Craft Brews, LLC, a new holding company. The group is already hinting at future acquisitions.
The terms of the deal have not been disclosed. Starting now, Cigar City’s Joey Redner will join Oskar Blues Dale Katechis and others as vested members of United Craft Brews, LLC. Fireman Capital is also a stakeholder.
Why? Melis mentioned in our conversation that Cigar City, much like the other group members, are first and foremost, friends. Oskar Blues loves the beer culture they have nurtured, and want to ensure that both their beer and loyal following stay intact.
“We love hanging out with these folks. We want to them succeed and grow. Together we can do that.- Chad Melis, Oskar Blues”
Joey Redner remains CEO, and Cigar City will continue brewing as normal. Going forward, they have a new, strong group of knowledgeable brewers and entrepreneurs by their side, plus extra capital to fund their growth.
The beer of course, will remain the same.