Late last night (well, eastern standard time), Firestone Walker (Paso Robles, CA) announced they had partnered with Belgian brewery, Duvel Moortgat. In 2013, Duvel made news when they acquired Kansas City, Missouri’s Boulevard Brewing. Duvel also owns Brewery Ommegang.
The brewery is calling this a “partnership” and not an acquisition. Actually, the deal in his own words is “complicated”. The amount of the partnership has not been disclosed.
That being said, we chatted with Firestone Walker’s David Walker to help answer a few key questions.
1. What are you looking to gain from the partnership. Culture, Control, Quality, Capacity and Simpatico
2. Is this a complete sale? Or part sale? Its a complicated sale and one we are happy the folks at Duvel were able to consider.
3. Who owns the brewery now? Brewers own our brewery, it used to be our friendly local farm bank.
4. Growth plans? New markets? We need to stabilize our existing growth in the West but once we do that we have plans to continue a steady expansion. Nothing imminent.
5. What is FW going to look like 1, 3, 5 years down the road. Much the same, perhaps a shiny new brewhouse and packaging line and an expanded Barrel Aged and Wild Ale program. We love what we do, I can’t see us changing too much.
Growth plans are complicated. Terrapin Beer Company in Athens, Georgia, despite having constant strong growth, couldn’t entice bankers to add capital investment to grow. MillerCoors craft division Tenth & Blake assisted, with a minority investment. Boulevard Brewing and Ommegang have both greatly benefited from Duvel Moortgat dedication to craft beer in the United States. Additionally, the sale/partnership with Duvel doesn’t garner the same scrutiny and “sellout” claims from the beer hardcore, like a sale to Anheuser-Busch.
For now, Firestone Walker will get a bigger brewhouse, and we all will have more barrel aged beer and wild ales to fight over. The west coast wins big with this, and maybe one day, we all will.