View Single Post
Unread 2013-10-17, 01:59 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Olathe
Posts: 169,973
Post Thanks / Like
Default McDonald sells majority stake in Boulevard Brewing


File | KCBJ
John McDonald, president of Boulevard Brewing Co.

After founding Boulevard Brewing Co. in 1989 and turning it into one of the nation's largest, most acclaimed craft breweries, John McDonald has sold his majority interest in the company to a Belgian brewery.
The new majority owner of the Kansas City-based craft brewer is Duvel Moortgat, a 142-year-old family-owned brewery based in Belgium. The brewery is most widely known in the United States for its namesake Duvel brand beer, which is a Belgian Strong Pale Ale.
Duvel sells about 750,000 barrels of beer annually, about 50 percent of which is sold in Belgium. By comparison, Boulevard sells about 200,000 barrels a year, 30 percent of which is sold in the Kansas City area.
Filled with emotion and looking like he just sent his daughter down the aisle to get married, McDonald explained why he made this move.
"I just turned 60 this year, and a couple years ago I woke up and started thinking that I needed to figure out what I was going to do with the brewery long term," McDonald said. "Sine then, we've been down a lot of different paths, talked to a lot of different people and looked at a lot of opportunities."

About three months ago, McDonald started talking to Duvel Moortgat, which he described as one of the world's most iconic brands.
"That type of beer is what got me into brewing back in the 1980s," McDonald said. "I've always had an admiration for that brewery in particular and Belgian brewers in general. I even brought my own Belgian brewmaster over 14 years ago, Steven Pauwels."
McDonald found the family ownership group at Duvel Moortgat receptive to acquiring the company. They agreed to acquire Boulevard Brewing for an undisclosed amount, and McDonald agreed to reinvest heavily in the newly merged company. McDonald will hold a minority stake and take a seat on the board. He'll remain involved with the operations in Kansas City. Management and employment at Boulevard will remain intact.

Duvel also has a small craft brewery in Cooperstown, N.Y., called Brewery Ommegang, which produces about 40,000 barrels a year. All the breweries will continue to operate normally. There will be no cross-pollinating of brands or shifting of brewing responsibilities.
The merger is expected to be completed by early December.
Boulevard CFO Jeff Krum said the transaction will lead to an injection of capital that will immediately lead to expansion.
"They looked very carefully at Boulevard Brewery and our brands and came to the conclusion that our beers are not only widely respected — many are critically acclaimed — but many of them have the ability to do well not just in the Midwest, but the balance of the United States and internationally," Krum said. "We have plans that we've been working on for some time to do additional expansion here. With the resources that they bring to the table, their financial strength and their depth of resources, they'll accelerate our expansion plans."
Boulevard has been planning a $15 million to $20 million expansion of its fermentation capacity about a year or two down the road, but now that could happen much sooner.
Merging with Duvel also will double the size of the U.S. sales force for the combined company, leading to immediate expansion opportunity into new markets for Boulevard, which is distributed in 25 states and the District of Columbia.
All those opportunities soften the blow a bit for McDonald when it comes to giving up control of the company he built from scratch into an iconic Kansas City brand.
"Sometimes it's tough to think about, but I really believe it's the right thing to do," McDonald said. "They're going to be good partners moving forward, and they get it. So I feel really good about it. I hope everybody in Kansas City can share my good feeling about it."

B68 | F82 |///M | S55B | NAV | LED | Avant Garde | Toyo Proxes 4

Last edited by KUweatherman; 2013-10-18 at 09:19 AM.. Reason: fixed pic
JDLM is offline   Reply With Quote