Crazy news has been published on Reuters today about New Belgium Brewing possibly courting buyers. According to their sources, Lazard Middle Market is advising New Belgium on possibilities. Lazard had previously helped advise the partnership of Oskar Blues Brewing Company and Fireman Capital Partners this past March.
In the wake of Ballast Point’s sale to Constellation Brands, this kind of thing doesn’t seem out of the sorts, yet it struck us as odd that New Belgium would be in the middle of it.
We reached out to New Belgium for comment:
“New Belgium Brewing’s Board of Directors has an obligation to have on-going dialogue with capital markets with the goal of making sure that we remain strong leaders in the craft brewing industry. There is no deal pending at this time.”
— Kim Jordan, Founder/BOD Chair/New Belgium Brewing
So what can we glean from Kim Jordan’s statement? Is New Belgium joining the ranks of breweries to sell out to big money? By all accounts, we gather that the case is probably no. This seems like someone at a venture capital firm leaking information about a company they’re working with, either to attract more interest, or to further their own brand. This info really shouldn’t concern us, but someone at the company leaked the info…and based on their declination to comment, it wasn’t their plan.
The article on Reuters references the deal Ballast Point struck to the tune of $1 billion, but our best guess is that New Belgium would command much more than that. According to the Brewers Association’s 2014 numbers, Ballast Point was ranked 31st in size compared to New Belgium at number four.
Another thing to consider is that New Belgium is 100% employee owned. How would a sale affect that status, if it were ever entertained? As far as we’re concerned, we don’t have to worry about New Belgium selling out any time soon. Keep your tin foil hats and lucky rabbit feet stashed away for the meantime. New Belgium is remaining craft.