Sightlines — CBA Purchasing Minor Stake in Cisco Brewers

Nate Micklos

THE GIST
A prelim agreement is in place for the Craft Beer Alliance (owner of brands like Red Hook, Widmer Brothers, and Kona) to purchase a minority stake in MA-based brewery Cisco. By keeping the stake below 25%, Cisco will be able to maintain its “craft beer” status as defined by the Brewers Association. CBA’s lead innovation brewer will assume responsibility for Cisco’s production.
 
WHY IT MATTERS
CBA is a publicly-traded company that has been struggling to deliver a desired level of financial growth, like many of the larger organizations within craft that once saw easy and constant double-digits. So, it’s no surprise for them to turn to craft breweries outside their portfolio (and geographical strength) to further diversify. And its brand and geographic strategy seems fairly similar to that of it's 32.2% investor and primary distribution partner, AB-Inbev, giving AB-Inbev a much larger and more integrated footprint than most people might realize, even in light of its recent string of craft acquisitions. — Nate Micklos