New Belgium Brewing Company has entered into an agreement to purchase the assets of San Francisco’s Magnolia Brewing Company, as a part of a bankruptcy proceeding. The majority stake will be owned by New Belgium, with minority stakes owned by Elysian Brewing founder Dick Cantwell and Belgian lambic producer Oud Beersel.
Magnolia Brewing will continue to operate at both locations, with all beer brands and staff intact. Cantwell will assume the role of head of brewing operations, working alongside Magnolia founder Dave McLean.
Cantwell left Elysian Brewing in April of 2015, shortly after the brewery sold to Anheuser-Busch InBev. The role at Magnolia Brewing is his first in the beer industry since leaving Elysian.
“I’m tremendously excited to be back in the beer business and looking forward to working with the team at Magnolia to develop new beers and new ideas. This project is the natural evolution of a longstanding strategy of collaboration between myself, New Belgium and Oud Beersel.” – Dick Cantwell
“Brewing with friends” is how New Belgium characterizes this new partnership. The goal is to bring fresh brewing experience into the fold at Magnolia and advance the brand, not turn these locations into New Belgium pubs. In time, new beers will grace Magnolia’s lineup.
“We’ve been looking for ways to diversify our assets and expand our community. These two tap rooms are right in the heart of historic San Francisco neighborhoods, a place Dick (Cantwell) and I call home. Magnolia makes excellent beer and plays an important role in the community. We’re excited about the possibilities and look forward to continuing our journey while honoring Magnolia’s history and presence.” – New Belgium co-founder and Executive Chair, Kim Jordan
Oud Beersel’s role will be interesting. Eventually, the famed lambic producer will ship containers of their spontaneously fermented beer to San Francisco to blend with Magnolia’s beers. Oud Beersel has already worked with New Belgium and Brouwerij Boon on Transatlantique Kriek, available from New Belgium. Expect New Belgium to involved in blending collaborations in San Francisco as well.
A coolship, along with new wood vessels (foudres, puncheons, etc) are already in planning for Magnolia in the near future.
To be called lambic the beer must be produced in Belgium, and by shipping lambic to San Francisco, the world’s first dedicated lambic blendery outside of Belgium will be established.
Magnolia Brewing was established by McLean in 1997. The brewery’s financial difficulties surfaced in 2015 after construction delays in the construction of Smokestack, a barbecue restaurant they opened attached to the 30-barrel brewery. Magnolia filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November 2015.
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal is expected to close in September 2017.