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Lagunitas is in a position where it doesn’t have the same pressures as other brewers to build market share domestically. It was the 10th largest brewer overall in the United States last year, according to the Brewers Association, a trade group for independent brewers. The company expects to produce 960,000 barrels this year, Magee said. Next year, it will open its third plant in Azusa, enabling it to expand production and better serve the Southwest and Mexico.
Lagunitas had almost $150 million in sales in the 12-month period ending June 12 through supermarkets, drugstores, convenience stores and other retail establishments tracked by IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm. Its sales jumped 33 percent, nearly three times faster than the overall craft beer category.
In September, Heineken acquired a 50 percent stake in Lagunitas in a deal that valued the entire Petaluma company at about $1 billion at the time, according to people familiar with industry valuations. The partnership has helped Lagunitas expand into new markets overseas. Magee said his brewery has recently entered five new foreign markets: the Netherlands, France, Mexico, Denmark and the Bahamas.
Financial terms of the trio of brewery investments announced Wednesday were not disclosed. The purchases were all funded by Lagunitas and did not require any capital outlay from Heineken, Magee said.
Lagunitas was ranked as the nation’s sixth-largest craft brewer in 2015 and the 10th-largest beer maker overall, according to the Brewers Association.
The company was founded by Tony Magee, who sold a 50 percent stake to industry giant Heineken last year for a reported $500 million.
Lagunitas’ first Southeast location will replace a downtown brewing and dining fixture that opened at 161 East Bay 20 years ago. Southend’s landmark 16,300-square-foot building dates to 1880. It was named for merchant F.W. Wagener, who bought and sold groceries, liquor, cotton and fertilizer, and in the 1930s, it became known as the Ohlandt Warehouse.
Along with the Southend investment, Lagunitas also announced this week it is acquiring equity stakes in Austin, Texas-based Independence Brewing Co. and Moonlight Brewing Co. of Santa Rosa, Calif.
“This is really about all of us expanding our experience base, our understanding of things and growing our businesses at the same time.” Magee told the Chicago Tribune about the three deals.
In Charleston, Lagunitas will join a thriving craft beer lineup, where it is looking to “be part of the community, rather than just be a suction on the market,” Magee told the Tribune.