Last week I wrote the following story for The Taster Tray (that other thing I do). In summary, Constellation Brands–the very large beer company that brings you Corona, Modelo, Pacifico, and other Mexican import beers–made substantial investments in craft beer in recent years. That is, it acquired some craft breweries. Now, the company has exited the realm of craft beer, retreating into the more-familiar land of Big Beer. Here’s what I had to say about that on The Taster Tray.
Gracias, adiós y buenas noches
Last week we shared the news that Anheuser-Busch InBev sold Appalachian Mountain Brewing back to the brewery’s original founders. This week we share another story about Big Beer hopping off the craft beer train. Constellation Brands (Corona, Modelo, Pacifico, etc.) just sold the last two craft breweries in its portfolio back to the original owners.
First up, Florida’s Funky Buddha Brewery is now back in the hands of Ryan and KC Sentz, the original owners. The Sentz brothers (pictured above) said that Funky Buddha will move forward with a “focus on beverage innovation, new consumer experiences, and additional product lines.”
“As we embark on the next chapter, we plan to push boundaries and create entirely new drinking experiences in beer and beyond. We’ll be serving good vibes on tap for many years to come.” Ryan Sentz, co-owner Funky Buddha Brewing.
But that ain’t all. Last week we also learned that Constellation Brands sold Texas-based Four Corners Brewing back to its original owners. So let’s recap Contellation’s less-than-successful dance with craft beer:
- The Ballast Point Blunder. In 2015 Constellation acquired San Diego-based Ballast Point Brewing for $1 billion. In late 2019 it sold Ballast Point to Chicago-based Kings & Convicts Brewing for $41.1 million.
- The Funky Buddha Flail. In 2017, Constellation acquired Funky Buddha Brewery. The company underwent two separate rebranding efforts in the following years but apparently never achieved the kind of growth and profitability Constellation imagined. Now sold back to the original owners. Terms not disclosed.
- The Four Corners Freefall. In 2018, Constellation acquired Dallas-based Four Corners Brewing. Since its acquisition, Four Corners’ annual production has declined from about 12,000 barrels annually to about 5,000 barrels last year. Now sold back to the original owners. Terms not disclosed.
Thank you, goodbye and good night. As Constellation exits the craft beer scene, the company learned an important lesson: stay in your lane. Words for us all to live by.