Constellation Brands acquires Texan craft brewery

Constellation Brands, the owner of beer brands including Corona and Ballast Point, has acquired Texas-based craft brewery Four Corners for an undisclosed sum.

The drinks giant said that the move aimed to reinforce “its strategy to lead the high-end in the US beer market”.

Founded in 2009 by friends George Esquivel, Greg Leftwich and Steve Porcari, Four Corners produces flagship brews including Local Buzz Honey-Rye Golden Ale and El Chingón IPA. It will join Constellation’s Craft and Speciality Beer Group which includes the likes of Florida’s Funky Buddha which the company acquired in August last year. 

Following the acquisition “Four Corners’ standard of brewing will remain unchanged” according to Constellation, with both the management team and existing staff members staying on at the brewery.

Four Corners co-founder, George Esquivel, said: “We like to say that Four Corners Brewing is our collective beer journey, and partnering with Constellation continues that journey by opening amazing possibilities of where our brand and company can go.

“We’re proud Texas brewers, and we’ve always had intent of sharing our brews and our story with as many people as possible. We know Constellation Brands is the right partner to help us do that”.

Since 2014, Four Corners’ sales have increased five-fold with the brewery undergoing expansion last year, growing capacity from 8,000 barrels in 2016 to 25,000 barrels in 2017.

President and chief operating officer at Constellation Brands, Bill Newlands, added: “Four Corners brings a culture that mixes adventure and innovation with elements of heritage and tradition.

“It’s a compelling opportunity for Constellation because Four Corners’ bicultural inspired flavours and branding capitalise on one of the hottest trends in beer – Hispanic influenced products. George, Greg and Steve have created beers that are big on flavour, refreshing and pair well with bold Texas cuisine, while creating a brand that embraces and reflects the diversity of its people. We’re excited to help them take the brand further.”

Four Corners is one of a number of investments and acquisitions that Constellation has made over the past few years.

In October last year, it bought a 9.9% stake in Canadian marijuana company Canopy Growth Corp for £141 million with the goal of producing cannabis-infused drinks. In a recent conference, call chief financial officer David Eric Klein said that Constellation won roughly $258 million in “pre-tax unrealised gain from the change in fair value of the Canopy Growth investment and warrants,” bringing its net gain up to $700 million.

In August 2017, it bought Funky Buddha, adding to its craft beer brands which include San Diego-based Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, which it acquired in November 2015 for a whopping US$1 billion.

In October 2016, it agreed a deal to purchase Obregon Brewery from Grupo Modelo – a subsidiary of AB InBev – for $600 million.

Outside of beer, the firm bought Napa’s Schrader Cellars last year for a reported $60 million, acquiring Schrader’s existing contracts with distinguished vineyards, as well as its 2015 and 2016 vintages and part of the estate’s inventory as part of the deal.

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