The story for the past few years has been massive beer conglomerate AB-INBEV buying out small craft breweries in attempts to compete with the growing craft beer segment. Now, the buyouts have reached the wholesaler level. After what seems like years of rumors, what was already one of the areas largest wholesalers (if not the largest), Origlio Beverage purchased the Bella Vista Beverage portfolio.
The driving force behind the acquisition was the Ballast Point Brewery brand. The rights have been owned by Bella Vista for as long as the brand has been in the market, but after Constellation Brands, owners of Corona, purchased the brewery it seemed inevitable that the brand would have to move to the same wholesaler as Corona. The brand was a large part of Bella Vista’s portfolio making up about 40% of their sales. Moving that brand alone presumably made little sense for Bella Vista, thus the reason for the whole portfolio changing hands. Plus, it must be assumed that Fireman’s Capital, who also recently purchased Cigar City, another Bella Vista brand, wanted to move the brand to Origlio to sell alongside Oskar Blues which Fireman’s Capital also owns and was pressuring Bella Vista to make a move.
Monetary details have yet to be released for the acquisition nor has future plans for the plethora of small breweries in which Bella Vista had the rights to, but we’re sure more details will slowly emerge by years end. Among the other breweries Bella Visa had the rights to include Buck’s County’s Naked Brewing, VooDoo, The Bruery, Lavery, Arcadia, Boulder, Cascade, Dark Horse, an array of Shelton Brothers brands, Almanac, the 12% Imports portfolio, DuClaw, B. Nektar, AleSmith, Wiseacre, Old Forge, Shorts, Clown Shoes, Perennial, 4 Hands, Pizza Boy, Half Acre, Hill Farmstead, Prairie, Lakefront, Carton, Destihl, the extremely popular local brewery Neshaminy Creek, and more. The retail side of Bella Vista however was not included.
That’s a lot of brands that are about to go through a drastic change. It is sure to be an interesting few months observing the fallout from this acquisition and how it affects the industry as a whole. It wasn’t long after the inaugural craft brewery purchase of Goose Island before others started to follow suit. Could the same thing happen with these small, specialty craft beer wholesalers?