Oskar Blues Sold, Acquires Perrin Brewing
The Oskar Blues Brewery sold an undisclosed but majority stake of its business to a private equity firm in April, a deal that will help fund its acquisition of Perrin Brewing, a small Michigan brewery with a strong local presence. The acquisition is backed by beer wholesaler Keith Klopcic of West Side Distributing, who introduced the two breweries, and Boston-based private equity firm Fireman Capital Partners. Previously, Fireman Capital bought stakes in two Utah breweries, Wasatch and Squatters.
Oskar Blues, with breweries in Colorado and North Carolina, believes that adding Perrin Brewing to the fold will bolster it in Perrin’s home market as drinkers gravitate toward more local beers.
“Perrin Brewing has achieved an impressive near-ubiquitous status on draft menus around West Michigan in just two years,” a press release stated. “In addition to the strength of their brewpub experience, Perrin taps are found at more than 700 locations in Michigan, helping the brewery reach nearly 14,000 barrels in 2014.”
Acquiring smaller breweries in hot markets makes sense as a strategy to be “more local in more places,” Benj Steinman, president of trade publisher Beer Marketer’s Insights Inc., told All About Beer Magazine.
“There’s a competitive battle going on at the same time there is this robust growth. Every larger, more established craft brewer faces keen competition from the small up-and-coming craft brewers.”
The move is also indicative of more private equity firms showing interest in craft breweries—and the interest is mutual. This past March, the members of Full Sail Brewing Co.’s Employee Stock Option Program (ESOP) voted to sell the brewery to Encore Consumer Capital, a San Francisco-based private equity firm. Full Sail, located in Hood River, Oregon, produced 115,000 barrels in 2014.