US – Faubourg Brewing Co., the New Orleans-based brewery purchased five years ago by Tom and Gayle Benson has merged with three other regional breweries owned by an Alabama private equity firm to build a regional craft beer powerhouse.

The Benson Group and Wiregrass Equity Partners of Montgomery said a Wiregrass-owned holding company Made By The Water LLC, which owns craft beer breweries in the Carolinas and Florida, will relocate its headquarters to the huge Faubourg Brewery in New Orleans East as part of the deal.

This move is aimed to add new brewing and manufacturing jobs as well as administrative positions in human resources, finance, sales, brand management, and marketing.

In a 275,000 square feet factory that is set up on a 15-acre site, Faubourg kitted out about one-third of the actual building space for brewing.

According to Brewers Association, a professional body for craft brewers, it estimates that Faubourg’s sales volume last year was about 12,500 barrels while Made By The Water’s was just under 44,000 barrels.

The plan is to become one of the largest craft beer producers in the United States, and the largest in the Southeast, producing over 100,000 barrels per year at the Faubourg brewery, the release said.

In addition, the merger will increase and strengthen Faubourg’s distribution network and allow Made By The Water to produce beers for national distribution.

The financial terms were not disclosed by the two privately-owned companies but they described the deal as “a 50/50 partnership”, which would include additional investment by the Benson Group with plans to add more brewing capacity and acquire additional craft beer companies.

Benson said in a statement: “This merger is about making New Orleans the cultural hub of the craft beer industry in the Southeast. Our partnership with Made By The Water allows us to grow the Faubourg brand, and bring in a partner that is a leader in building craft beer brands.

I pride myself on making New Orleans first, and I think we can bring all of the best in craft beer from these historically strong craft beer areas in the Southeast and make New Orleans the primary focus of the industry.

“Our goal is to help New Orleans become as well known for its beer as it is for its cuisine and to see the local craft beer industry continue to grow and create quality jobs.”

Made By the Water will now brew and serve its beers at the Faubourg Tap Room in New Orleans East, while Faubourg will continue to brew its full line of products.

Made By the Water’s brands include Oyster City in Apalachicola, Florida; Catawba in Ashville, North Carolina; and Palmetto in Charleston, South Carolina.

The company also has a distribution of products in North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee.

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