One year ago, Wynwood Brewing Company announced it had been acquired by Craft Brew Alliance (CBA). Soon it will have a new parent.
This week, CBA announced Anheuser-Bush (A-B) agreed to purchase all remaining CBA shares for $16.50 per share in cash. A-B already owns a 31.2 percent stake in CBA.
When the transaction closes, Wynwood Brewing will be a member of the A-B family.
Luis Brignoni Jr. says he's looking forward to what the future will hold for the brewery he started in 2013 with his father, Luis Brignoni Sr. "We're going to be able to learn from the world's largest brewer and see how it operates. I see this as a learning tool. This partnership will allow us to advance as brewers in a way we could never have done by ourselves."
Looking ahead, Brignoni hopes the new partnership will allow distribution of his flagship blonde ale to grow. "We'd like to see La Rubia poised to be one of the most popular beers in the Caribbean Latino market."
The beer-maker also plans to expand his brewery's 1,000-square-foot taproom in Wynwood. "We're in the middle of designing a taproom. I want to cater to a more family-friendly brewery. I have three kids now, and there aren't a lot of places in Miami where I can relax and have a beer while my kids can also be welcome."
Brignoni says he doesn't see any key changes happening with the transfer of ownership. "Looking at the industry and the history of what's happened in the past, A-B pretty much leaves craft breweries operating the way they're supposed to operate." He says the Wynwood Brewing team will remain intact. "Pops and I are going to continue to show up for work every day."
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Brignoni says he understands if people are skeptical about Wynwood's first brewery selling to a huge company such as A-B. "Beer is one of those things that people are very aware of who owns it. People are really protective over the beer industry."
In the end, however, he says the acquisition has been good for his brewery, his family, and his employees. "I love the craft beer industry. I love beer," Brignoni says. "I'm taking care of my family and my folks, and my employees have great benefits and great opportunities for upward mobility."
Wynwood Brewing joins other South Florida breweries that are owned by larger companies. Veza Sur, founded by partners from Bogota Beer Company and Oregon's 10 Barrel Brewing, is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev; Concrete Beach is owned by a division of the Boston Beer Company; and Funky Buddha in Oakland Park is owned by Constellation Brands.
Wynwood Brewing. 565 NW 24th St., Miami; 305-982-8732; wynwoodbrewing.com.