"This is not the end of anything at all at Lagunitas," writes cantankerous Lagunitas owner and founder Tony Magee in a somewhat defensive blog post. The occasion: His beer world-shattering decision to sell a 50 percent stake in his Petaluma-headquartered craft brewery to Dutch beer giant Heineken.
Lagunitas was perhaps valued at as much as $1 billion in the deal, according to the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, although the financial details weren't disclosed.
"Maybe it is the end of the beginning, meaning that we are now standing at the threshold of an historic opportunity to export the excitement and vibe of American-born Craft Brewing and meet beer-lovers all over the Planet Earth, our true homeland," Magee concludes, "This could one day even be seen as a crucial victory for American Craft Brewing."
Others might see it as defeat, especially as craft breweries must be less than 25 percent owned or controlled by a separate, larger brewery. Hence: Lagunitas isn't going to be a craft brewery anymore.
Lagunitas, though the 6th largest craft operation in the US last year according to the Brewers Association, pales in any size comparison to Heineken. Still, like the movement of which it is part, Lagunitas has grown rapidly with a massive Chicago brewery that opened in 2012.
As Fortune notes, the brewery shipped almost 600,000 barrels in 2014 — up from about 100,000 in 2010 — as the market share within craft beer has grown from 1% to over 3% over the same period.
In past years, as BeerPulse notes, Magee has been seen on Twitter criticizing large brewers, sometimes calling them "monster companies." And earlier in 2015, Magee filed (and quickly withdrew in embarrassment) a lawsuit against Sierra Nevada over a similar-ish logo, as the Chronicle catalogues. Craft breweries strive to be non-competitive with one another, instead focusing on large breweries, chipping away at their market share as a group.
Well, if the craft brew scene was peeved then, now Magee has given them something to get really bent out of shape about.