A-B Acquires Goose Island

Dear Client:

Goose Island announced this morning it has agreed to be acquired by Anheuser-Busch, its current distribution partner. The deal “will bring additional capital into Goose Island’s operations to meet growing consumer demand for its brands and deepen its Chicago and Midwest distribution,” the company said.

A-B reached an agreement to purchase the majority stake (58%) from Fulton Street Brewery – Goose Island’s legal name – from its founders and investors for $22.5 million. Craft Brewers Alliance owned the remaining 42% in FSB and reached an agreement to sell its stake to AB for $16.3 million in cash. Recall that A-Bs holds a minority stake (32.25%) in CBA.

Goose Island sold approximately 127,000 barrels of Honkers Ale, 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Matilda and other brands in 2010. To help meet immediate demand, an additional $1.3 million will be invested to increase Goose Island’s Chicago Fulton Street brewery’s production as early as this summer.

John Hall will continue as Goose Island’s ceo, and will continue to be responsible for its beer production and expansion of Goose Island’s Chicago brewery, where production will continue and its business will still be based.

“The new structure will preserve the qualities that make Goose Island’s beers unique, strictly maintain our recipes and brewing processes,” said John. “We had several options, but we decided to go with AnheuserBusch because it was the best. The transaction is good for our stakeholders, employees and customers.”

Recall that A-B has distributed Goose Island brands since 2006 as part of an agreement with Widmer Brothers Brewing, a co-founder of CBA. A-B also provides logistical support to all A-B wholesalers distributing Goose Island and CBA beers as part of that agreement. Wholesalers currently servicing retailers with Goose Island beers will continue to do so with no disruption in service, said the company.

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2011. The two Goose Island brew pubs are not part of the deal, but will continue in operation.

As part of CBA’s agreement to sell its 42% stake in FSB to A-B, in addition to cash, A-B will provide enhanced retail selling support for CBA brands, will reduce distribution fees payable by CBA to A-B and will provide CBA additional flexibility with respect to future acquisitions and divestitures.

Until tomorrow, Harry

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