Constellation Brands buys Funky Buddha brewery

Constellation Brands has acquired Florida’s Funky Buddha, the state’s fastest growing craft brewery, for an undisclosed sum.

In a statement, Constellation revealed that the move was in line with “its strategy to lead the high-end beer segment” in the US. Founded in 2010 by husband and wife Ryan and Giani Sentz, Funky Buddha moved to its current 54,000 sq ft site in 2013 and is South Florida’s largest craft microbrewery by size and volume, and boasts Florida’s busiest tap room by beer sales.

Funky Buddha has a static range of ‘year-round’ beers including Hop Gun IPA and Pineapple Beach blonde ale as well as seasonal, small-batch and barrel-aged brews. The company also provides a range only available on draft including Snowed In imperial porter, Apple Toffee double brown ale and Banana Split ale.

Hop Gun IPA.

Commenting on Constellation’s acquisition, head brewer and president of Funky Buddha, Ryan Sentz, said: “We chose to partner with Constellation because we saw an alignment in vision and felt they gave us the greatest opportunity for growth and development.”

“Constellation and Funky Buddha share a lot of the same ideals and passion for philanthropy, entrepreneurship and the art of craft beer. At the end of the day, we just really like the people we have met within the organisation, each of whom share our dedication to making outstanding beer”.

Constellation Brands and Funky Buddha’s current team will work together, with Ryan Sentz and brother KC Sentz continuing to run the day-to-day operations.

Paul Hetterich, executive vice president and president of the beer division at Constellation Brands, commented: “Adding a fantastic regional brand such as Funky Buddha to our craft beer portfolio, along with Ballast Point, advances our strategy in continuing to lead the high-end beer segment.”

“The Sentz family has created a culture of bold creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. Those qualities, combined with our beer division’s market reach, distributor partnerships, consumer insights, and our craft expertise within Ballast Point, will help nurture and develop Funky Buddha’s distinctive brand”.

The news has attracted both praise and criticism on social media, with some Twitter users congratulating the Sentz family on their success, while others criticised their decision to sell out.

Journalist Chris Smith echoed the sentiments of many in vowing to spend his money elsewhere now that the brewery is no longer independently owned.

Responding to the criticism in a number of tweets, Funky Buddha said: “They [Constellation Brands] share our passion for quality beer. We plan to stay true to our brand and make more funky suds for the world to enjoy”.

“We’re excited to grow with a company that shares our passion for quality and doesn’t want to change what we do best.”

“Rest assured Funky Buddha will have the same spirit and creativity that made us the company we are today. Just with a little bit more beer..”

Other Twitter users reacted more positively to the decision, stating that the Constellation acquisition would increase the availability of Funky Buddha’s beers.

In 2015, Constellation Brands bought San Diego-based Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits for US$1 billion. In the same year, it also announced a US$2 billion investment in expanding its brewery and bottle plant in Mexico.

Its beer brands also include Corona Extra, Corona Light, Modelo Especial, Modela Chelada Especial, Modela Chelada Especial Tamarind Picante, Negra Modelo, Victoria, Tocayo, and Pacifico.

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