Home Beer Michigan’s Short’s Brewing Co. sells 20 percent stake to Lagunitas Brewing Co.

Michigan’s Short’s Brewing Co. sells 20 percent stake to Lagunitas Brewing Co.

Heineken gets into craft beer’s shorts.
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Michigan-based Short’s Brewing Company—it of the expansive beer portfolio that ranges from popular IPAs like Huma Lupa Licious to funky fruit beers like Key Lime Pie and Soft Parade—announced Tuesday that it had sold a 19.99-percent stake to Lagunitas Brewing Co., which became a subsidiary of Heineken International when the Dutch megabrewer purchased a 50-percent stake in 2015. Heineken bought the remaining half of Lagunitas in May.

According to a release sent out by Short’s, Lagunitas’ stake will be managed by Lagunitas U.S. Holdings—or LUSH. Short’s “will maintain its brand image while gaining additional resources for continued opportunity to invest in Short’s staff, the Northern Michigan community, and opportunities to push the boundaries of creativity,” the release said.

The sale comes at a time of rapid growth for Short’s, which produced more than 48,000 barrels of beer in 2016—double the brewery’s 2013 numbers, according to data from the Brewers Association. Founded in 2004, the brewery also finally began distributing its beers, as well as the ciders it produces under the Starcut Ciders brand, outside its home state last year.

“This partnership with Lagunitas is just another part of evolution in the cycle of our dynamic and growing business,” Short’s founder Joe Short said in the release. “Pride, passion, and love of the work will always remain paramount. I’m super excited and proud because for the first time EVER, we’ll be operating without restriction, experiencing what true independence feels like.”

About that “independence:” Because Lagunitas is wholly owned by Heineken, it’s not considered an “independent craft brewery” by the Brewers Association, which requires (among other conditions) that its members be less than 25 percent owned or controlled by an alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer. Lagunitas’ 19.99-percent stake enables Short’s to maintain its “independent” status.

The announcement comes just one week after Coronado Brewing Co. acquired Monkey Paw Brewing, a brewpub in San Diego’s East Village.

Short’s also posted a video message about the sale from Joe Short and brewery partner Scott Newman-Bale, which you can view here.

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Author
Zach Fowle is DRAFT's beer editor. Reach him at zach@draftmag.com.

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