Heineken buys into US craft beer brewer
Dutch beer giant Heineken announced Tuesday that it bought half of US-based beer maker Lagunitas, hoping to cash in on the global rocketing popularity of craft beers.
"Heineken announces the acquisition of a 50 percent shareholding in Lagunitas Brewing Company, the fifth-largest craft brewer in the United States by volume," it said in a statement issued from Amsterdam.
The deal will give Heineken the chance to "build a strong foothold in the dynamic craft brewing category on a global scale," while giving Lagunitas "a global opportunity to present its beers to new consumers in a category that is showing exciting international growth opportunities".
Heineken declined to reveal how much it had paid for its stake.
Lagunitas owns a number of craft beers including its highly-regarded Lagunitas India Pale Ale (IPA), a hoppy style of beer that has become hugely popular across the world in recent years.
Craft beer continues to gain ground in the US beer market and now represents 11 percent of volumes, Heineken said.
Founded in California in 1993, Lagunitasis known for brands such as "A Little Sumpin' Sumpin'", "Hop Stoopid" and "Maximus" that are sold in Britain, Canada, Sweden and Japan.
It is expected to sell one million hectolitres of beer in 2015 from its two breweries in Petaluma, California and Chicago, Illinois.
A third brewery is under construction in Azusa, California.
Valued at around 35 billion euros, Heineken is Europe's largest and the world's third-largest brewer after SABMiller and global number one InBev.
Heineken produces and sells more than 200 brands of beer and cider, and employs nearly 70,000 people around the world.
© 2015 AFP