While the end of the government shutdown has been big news, a huge beer story broke yesterday, so we'll turn our attention to that. Belgium’s Duvel Moortgat, makers of the famous Duvel beer, has acquired Boulevard Brewing from Kansas City, MO. With an estimated value of $100 million, Boulevard is the most expensive acquisition of a craft brewery in beer history.
This is the largest industry sale since Goose Island was bought by AB InBev for nearly $40 million in 2011, which is surely going to draw some comparisons, as that was also a case of a Belgian group acquiring a U.S. brewery. But there's little to worry about regarding matters of quality control — Duvel, a family-run company with a 142-year-old brewing history, is one of the largest and most respected producers of Belgian beer, producing about 750,000 barrels a year.
This is the second U.S. brewery Duvel Moortgat has acquired, the first being Ommegang Brewery from Cooperstown, NY back in 2003, which brews exclusively Belgian beer. As with Goose Island’s acquisition by AB InBev, where some of the brewing shifted to Anheuser-Busch’s facilities, there is the possibility of expanding brewing of Boulevard's specialty Belgian-inspired Smokestack Series to Ommegang. But Boulevard's barrel-aged program, featuring favorites like Love Child, Saison-Brett and Bourbon-Barrel Quad, is one of the best in the country and isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Beyond their excellent Belgian-inspired brews, Boulevard also produces highly drinkable wheat ales and IPAs. Their popular unfiltered wheat beer is even dispensed in stadiums from backpack-mounted kegs!
For the past 24 years, Boulevard has worked to establish a name for quality beer. With an estimated 60,000-barrel production increase over the last three years, its growth shows just how in-demand this stuff is. Even better, their current facility has room to produce up to 700,000 barrels, so meeting demand with increased distribution channels won’t be a problem. With Duvel now overseeing things, we're excited to see further growth in the U.S. market, likely starting with New York and Florida in 2014 and perhaps even expansion abroad in the years to come.
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