Sightlines — MillerCoors Tenth & Blake Division Acquires Majority Stake in Terrapin Beer Company

Michael Kiser

THE GIST
Yesterday MillerCoors announced that its craft beverage division, Tenth & Blake, will acquire a majority stake in Georgia’s Terrapin Beer Company. This deal follows on from the minority stake in the Georgia Brewery (less than 25%) Tenth & Blake had already purchased back in 2011.

WHY IT MATTERS
This move by Tenth & Blake to purchase a majority stake in Terrapin is a curious one. Speaking to the Denver Post back in 2014, Pete Coors, the former Chairman of both Molson Coors and MillerCoors was quoted as saying “We are a minority interest, which isn’t working out the best.” So what has changed?

The impending merger between SAB Miller and AB-InBev might make this deal more compelling. Tenth & Blake is a MillerCoors venture, as a result of the merger Coors are to pay $12 Billion to acquire AB-InBev’s 58% stake in the company. Will Tenth & Blake’s modus operandi change under the sole stewardship of Coors? It's likely it will have to be more aggressive about growth in new areas as it faces a much more dominating competitor post-merger. 

In the wake of a string of brewery acquisitions globally by AB-InBev, other brewing giants such as MillerCoors and Constellation have been slower to enter the craft realm, seemingly choosing to make more choosy, larger purchases. Certainly available resources forces such an approach to some degree. 

One thing for certain is that if the Terrapin situation was ever going to bear fruit for MillerCoors, it needed decisive ownership and clear vision. Now with an outright acquisition at hand, that's something the Tenth & Blake team will have the opportunity to prove. 

— Matthew Curtis