By Jonathan Kauffman on November 16, 2015 at 11:24 AM
- Another sign that this autumn has become the season of beer acquisitions: Constellation Brands announced today that it has purchased San Diego’s Ballast Point Brewing Company for a reported $1 billion.
The 19-year-old brewery, founded by Jack White, Pete A’Hearn and Yuseff Cherney, has become renowned for big-hopped IPAs like Sculpin, as well as variants flavored with grapefruit or habanero. Ballast Point had filed for an initial public offering on October 19, so the news is not a complete shock to beer world observers.
Since 2013, Constellation Brands has distributed major Mexican beer brands including Corona, Modelo and Pacifico. Best known for its wine brands, the Constellation portfolio includes Robert Mondavi, New Zealand’s Kim Crawford and, as of this summer, the Pinot Noir label Meiomi. This purchase will be the company’s first incursion into the world of craft beer. Constellation CEO Rob Sands told Reuters that it would consider Ballast Point a standalone business — which may be somewhat reassuring to the brewery’s 400 employees.
This is the second big San Diego brewery to go big this year; Saint Archer sold to MillerCoors in September. The Ballast Point news comes just a few months after the sale or partial sale of the Petaluma’s Lagunitas Brewing Company, Firestone Walker in Paso Robles and Golden Road Brewing in Los Angeles. It’s hard not to see Constellation’s move through the lens of the proposed merger between the world’s two biggest beer companies, AB InBev and SABMiller.
The sale price is occasioning the most exclamation marks on Twitter. A few commenters had slightly more nuanced 140-character observations: