Japanese beer powerhouse Sapporo recently reached an agreement to acquire craft beer brand Stone Brewing. The acquisition is set to be complete by August 2022, according to a press release from the company. The news marks the completion of a multi-year initiative by Stone Brewing to locate a buyer, despite founder Greg Koch’s personal stance on big-brand acquisitions.
The deal is anticipated to merge the fan-favorite craft beer brand Stone Brewing with Sapporo’s expanding profile of beverage options. Sapporo U.S.A. is the top selling Asian beer brand in the U.S. The company, launched in 1876, has a decades-long production history in the United States.
Under the agreement, Stone will continue to circulate its existing products and retain its current employee base. In a press release, Sapporo states it intends to double Stone Brewing’s current production to 360,000 barrels by the end of 2024.
Consumers can still expect the same craft beers to be available under Stone Brewing’s branding, as the press release states that the company will continue to use the same recipes as it did prior to the acquisition. The seven Tap Room and World Bistro & Gardens locations under the Stone Brewing name will also continue to operate as before.
Stone Distributing Co., the distributor of Stone Brewing products, is independent from the brewing company and “will become an independent company under current ownership,” according to Stone.
Stone Brewing was reportedly purchased for $165 million. This is the second craft beer brand that Sapporo has added to its portfolio in the past several years; in 2017, the company acquired Anchor Brewing Co. The move by Sapporo follows the trend in the past year of large brewing companies, such as Anheuser-Busch InBev, acquiring small craft brewers.