The US craft division of Molson Coors, Tenth and Blake Beer Company, has confirmed the acquisition of Detroit-based Atwater Brewery.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed, and the transaction is expected to be completed within the next couple of months.
Founded in 1997, Atwater Block Brewery is highly regarded in the Michigan craft beer community for its traditional German-style lagers and ales. The brewer also operates three taphouse and biergarden locations in Detroit, Grosse Pointe Park and Grand Rapids.
After investing in the brewery in 2002, Mark Rieth purchased the brewery outright in 2005, setting off several years of booming growth. Led by beers Dirty Blonde and Vanilla Java Porter, Atwater became a cornerstone of Michigan’s brewing scene. Other brands, such as Better Life Choices (an American IPA that was named a top-10 IPA by Beer Connoisseur magazine), and Decadent Dark Chocolate (which won bronze in the World Beer Cup), augment Atwater’s portfolio.
While US beer volumes fell overall by 2.3% in 2019, craft continues to show growth, increasing by 4.1% in the same period. This growth is a significant reason why macro breweries are on the acquisition trail, hoping the on-trend marketing and bold new flavours of small breweries will help offset the continuing decline in their traditional businesses.
“The agreement with Tenth and Blake is both the culmination of our past and the catapult to our future,” said Mark Rieth, Atwater Brewery owner. “For Atwater to continue to grow, it will require both capital and brewing expertise. Tenth and Blake brings both, which makes them the ideal strategic partner to help us continue to live our mantra ‘Born in Detroit. Raised Everywhere.'”
Rieth and his management team will continue to lead Atwater’s day-to-day operations. Arlington Capital Advisors served as exclusive financial advisor to Atwater in this transaction.
“Atwater has been a staple and a leader in the Michigan craft community for more than two decades, and we’re thrilled to have them join Tenth and Blake,” said Paul Verdu, vice president of Tenth and Blake. “Our priority is to make sure their beer is enjoyed by consumers throughout their core markets and eventually across the Great Lakes region.”
Atwater Brewery joins other craft breweries in the Tenth and Blake portfolio, including the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, AC Golden Brewing Company, Saint Archer Brewing Company, Terrapin Beer Company, Hop Valley Brewing Company and Revolver Brewing.
This is the latest example of Molson Coors Beverage Company executing its revitalization plan, which was launched in October 2019 to generate savings that are being reinvested across its entire portfolio. Since announcing the plan, the company has taken a stake in beverage incubator L.A. Libations; announced it will air ads during the pro football championship for the first time in several years; and launched new creative campaigns for a broad range of its brands.