UK – Dutch multinational brewery, Heineken, has acquired the remaining 51% stake it did not own in the North London brewer Beavertown, for an undisclosed sum.
The drinks giant took a minority stake in Beavertown in 2018 for £40m (US$40.08m), with the proceeds used to fund expansion, including the construction of a new brewery in Enfield, London.
In the agreement, Beavertown founder Logan Plant will step down as boss and be replaced by Heineken veteran Jochen Van Esch, who has worked for Heineken for more than 20 years and has been at its UK arm since 2014, when he began as Brewery operations director.
Plant said Beavertown began in his kitchen, 10 years ago, from brewing in a rice pan to being one of the most successful British brewers in recent years, employing over 160 people and brewing 360,000 hectolitres of beer.
A Heineken spokesperson revealed: “Today’s announcement builds on a long-term partnership between Heineken UK and Beavertown Brewery and will see Beavertown continue to expand and flourish while remaining committed to its independent creativity.
The current Beavertown management team will continue to operate the company as a separate business – the only change to the existing management team will be Logan stepping down and Jochen Van Esch becoming MD. Logan will still be involved as a creative consultant.”
Heineken added that the deal adds Beavertown’s name to a long list of craft brewers to have challenged big beer companies, only to be bought out.
Other craft brewers to be bought out by foreign drinks giants in the past decade include Camden Brewery’s sale to the Budweiser owner, AB InBev, SABMiller’s purchase of Meantime, Carlsberg’s takeover of London Fields, and Heineken’s acquisition of a stake in Brixton brewery.
Known for its brightly-colored beer cans, Beavertown’s most popular drinks include Neck Oil and Gamma Ray, both beers commonly served across London pubs.
Heineken’s stake in Beavertown has helped the craft brewer’s sales almost triple from £12.7m(US$12.72m) in 2018 to £35m(US$35.08m) in 2020, the last year before sales were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
To also try and recoup some trade, the London-based company ramped up its online direct-to-consumer operations, where it went from selling £1,000 per week to £100,000 per week at its peak.
Sales were further assisted by customers turning to buy its beers at convenience stores and major British supermarkets like Sainsbury’s, which were classed as essential businesses during national lockdowns.
Overall, Beavertown’s growth has been underpinned by its increased production capacity and a partnership with Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, including an on-site brewery serving more than 60,000 people at every match.
Boudewijn Haarsma, Heineken UK’s managing director, has pledged the beverage major ‘will fully support Beavertown’s brand position, inimitable creativity, and huge growth potential, and will do so in a way that preserves its unique approach to beer.’
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