Constellation Brands acquires Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits for $1 billion

By Frazer Jones
With ownership of beer brands from Corona and Pacifico to Tsingtao, wine brands from Ravenswood to Robert Mondavi, and spirits brands like Svedka vodka...

With ownership of beer brands from Corona and Pacifico to Tsingtao, wine brands from Ravenswood to Robert Mondavi, and spirits brands like Svedka vodka and Paul Masson brandy, New York-based drinks company Constellation Brands has its hands in a lot of pots. But the company has never gotten involved in the craft beer market—until now. In perhaps the biggest craft brewing acquisition deal to date, today Constellation Brands announced an agreement to acquire San Diego craft beer titan Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits for $1 billion.

According to the announcement from Constellation Brands, Ballast Point will retain its employees and executive team and will continue to operate as a stand-alone company, only now it will have access to Constellation Brands’ reach and funding to help the craft brand grow nationally.

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 “We started this business nearly 20 years ago with a vision to produce great beer that consumers love and to do it the right way,” said Jack White, founder of Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, in a joint press release. “To achieve that vision, we needed to find the right partner. The team at Constellation shares our values, entrepreneurial spirit and passion for beer, and has a proven track record of helping successful premium brands reach the next level of growth and scale.”

 “We believe in the vision that Jack and his team have created and we’re excited to welcome Ballast Point, one of the most respected craft brewers in the country, to the Constellation Brands family,” added Rob Sands, chief executive officer, Constellation Brands. “Along with imports, craft beer is a key driver of growth and premiumization within the beer industry, with craft doubling its share of the U.S. beer market in the last five years. Ballast Point has certainly been a key driver of that growth. Their business philosophy and entrepreneurial spirit perfectly align with our culture and we look forward to strengthening our position in the high-end beer segment with what is arguably the most premium major brand in the entire craft beer business.”

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This is only the latest in a wave of high profile craft beer acquisitions by major beer producers and distributors, but it will be interesting to see how the industry changes if this trend continues. Constellation Brands estimates that the acquisition will be complete by the end of the 2015 calendar year. 

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