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Short’s Brewing Sells Shares to Lagunitas US Holdings

Short’s Brewing Sells Shares to Lagunitas US Holdings

It was just a couple months ago that Lagunitas made the news when Heineken purchased the remaining shares of the brewery and now they’re backing in it for investing in another brewery.

LUSH, or Lagunitas U.S. Holdings, has agreed with Michigan’s Short’s Brewing Co. to acquire 19.99% of the company. Aside from the odd percentage, the deal sounds very similar to every other brewery acquisition of late: the brewery will maintain its identity and gain the necessary resources to grow the brand and help promote craft beer. The difference however is that LUSH is still an independent company and does not have ties to Heineken. LUSh even put out the following to explain the partnership:

Partnership is in the form of Lagunitas purchasing 19.99% of Short’s Brewing Company  
·       Investment will help Short’s scale operations, sales, marketing and technology efforts
·       Investment will help Lagunitas think and act local in Michigan
·       No plans for distributor alignment across the board, Short’s to continue to make best decisions for their company
·       No changes in Short’s management or reporting to Heineken – everything will run through LUSH and Lagunitas
·      Helps grow both of our tribes by putting our collective we-nusses together.
·       Short’s will remain a BA member and technically be defined as a “craft brewer”- for those who care

                                               

Owner Joe Short stated, ”I never imagined Short’s would become such a successful regional brewery. The secret to that success has always been to surround myself with good people. The best people; who in many ways are smarter and more talented than myself. I’m confident all successful businesses would tell you a similar story. This partnership with Lagunitas is just another part of evolution in the cycle of our dynamic and growing business. I’ve grown so much personally and professionally during my time at the helm of Short’s Brewing Company that I understand now, more than ever – the continued success of Short’s and its people rely on me to make smart and strategic decisions. This is just one of them.”

LUSH’s founding principle is to support smaller breweries independently of Lagunitas’s Heineken ownership. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out though and what the reaction of the general public will be considering that LUSH founder Tony Magee is the one who decided to sell to Heineken. Technically though, Short’s still retains its “craft” status though, so maybe none of that should matter. Maybe it’s just Magee taking the money he made and using it to actually help out the little guys?

Here’s the full press release from Short’s Brewing Company on the merger (which lacks any mention of Heineken):

Short’s Brewing Company of Bellaire and Elk Rapids, MI announces plans to partner with The Lagunitas Brewing Company based in Petaluma, CA, America’s ninth largest brewery. 

The partnership stems from Short’s desire to successfully navigate the ever-evolving craft market while maintaining its creatively fearless identity. Lagunitas’ 19.99% equity stake in Short’s will be managed by Lagunitas U.S. Holdings — or LUSH. The founding principle of LUSH is to build relationships with, and support, regional breweries. In keeping with this, Short’s will maintain their individual brand image while gaining additional resources for continued opportunity to invest in Short’s staff, the Northern Michigan community, and opportunities to push the boundaries of creativity.

Joe Short stated, ”I never imagined Short’s would become such a successful regional brewery. The secret to that success has always been to surround myself with good people. The best people; who in many ways are smarter and more talented than myself. I’m confident all successful businesses would tell you a similar story. This partnership with Lagunitas is just another part of evolution in the cycle of our dynamic and growing business. I’ve grown so much personally and professionally during my time at the helm of Short’s Brewing Company that I understand now, more than ever – the continued success of Short’s and its people rely on me to make smart and strategic decisions. This is just one of them.”  

When asked about the partnership between Short’s and Lagunitas, Lagunitas’ founder, Tony Magee, stated, “Having Joe and Scott and all their talented people joining up with the LUSH group is mostly cool but also kinda weird. Have you met those guys? I thought Bellaire was in Canada…”

The craft brewing community has always focused on relationships, and Short’s is excited for the opportunity to be a part of the LUSH community. “Pride, passion, and love of the work will always remain paramount. I’m super excited and proud because for the first time EVER, we’ll be operating without restriction, experiencing what true independence feels like,” stated Short. “I really admire Tony. His vision and level of understanding of the industry is fascinating to me. With his ability to share Lagunitas’ 24 years of experience, this partnership is going to bring some serious awesomeness to the people of Short’s.”

Check out a message about the partnership from Joe Short and Scott Newman-Bale here.

About Mat Falco

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