Hearne: Boulevard Brewing Bought Out by Belgium Brewer

BOULEVARDThis just in…

You saw the headline, so whip out those black armbands. Beloved local brewer Boulevard Brewing is taking the money and running.

Hey, it’s the way of the world.

“As European interest in American craft beers begins to mirror the mania for them stateside, the Duvel Moortgat Brewery of Belgium on Thursday announced a deal to buy the Boulevard Brewing Company, a craft brewery in Kansas City, Mo.” the New York Times is reporting. “The acquisition of Boulevard will give Duvel, pronounced DOO-vel, ownership of a large United States craft brewer that is well known in the Midwest and produces a wide variety of beers under its own name and others. Boulevard’s brands range from 80-Acre Hoppy Wheat Beer, described as citrusy with a slightly sweet flavor and light bitterness, to Dark Truth Stout, an “inky” beer with hints of chocolate, coffee and fruits.”

“Boulevard, the 12th-largest craft brewer in the United States, has distribution approaching 180,000 barrels this year,” the Times continues. “The acquisition will give it access to wider distribution in the domestic market and an avenue into international markets using Duvel’s worldwide system.”

No-Light-BeersThe reason for the sellout?

John McDonald, Boulevard’s founder and owner, said he had been pondering an exit strategy for the last few years,” the Times reports. “I talked to several other breweries and different types of financial institutions that might be interested in partnering with us, and about three months ago, I decided to go talk to Duvel,” said Mr. McDonald, who recently turned 60.

“He said he liked the way his company could mesh with the Belgian brewery and the cultural alignment between the two businesses. “I was looking to give up control of my brewery, and to do that, I had to feel really good about the people I would be giving control to,” Mr. McDonald said.”

The rumor earlier this week was that Miller-Coors would be doing the buyout honors.

But fear not, craft beer lovers it was not to be.

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12 Responses to Hearne: Boulevard Brewing Bought Out by Belgium Brewer

  1. chuck says:

    BS. I told ya, he and his wife are on the rocks.

  2. mike t. says:

    according to the business journal, they bought a majority stake, not all of it. in any case, another local success story bought up and no longer local.

  3. the dude says:

    Poop, well this plain sucks.

  4. Hot Carl says:

    Eh, while I loved that they were a winning local business I have to say that I found their beers to be wildly overrated. The wheat is palatable but the rest of it is no more than average.

    • Kyle Rohde says:

      See, and I think their two most popular beers (Wheat and Pale) are their two poorest. Wheat beer is the new Heineken – a “craft” beer for people who really don’t like beer but want to seem different from the domestic light crowd. And Pale is just an average pale.

      For me, their best regular issue beers are Bob’s 47, Nutcracker and Single-Wide. I love all the Smokestacks but have been a bit let down by some of the other regular stuff (80 Acre, Westside Rye, etc.); the flavors are just not strong enough for me. And they’ve got to do something besides make more IPAs – Single Wide, Double Wide, 80 Acre, regular Pale, Mid-Coast). I know hops are big but you guys have sort of done the gamut at this point and got it right with Single Wide. Move on to something else please.

      The announcement is a bit sad but I’m glad to hear the ops and headcount in KC aren’t going anywhere. Of all the different companies they could have sold to, this is probably one of the best in terms of maintaining independence.

      • the dude says:

        Don’t forget the Saison Brett, the Tank No. 7 and Love Child No.3. Those are pretty good.

      • RickM says:

        +1 on Nutcracker. Also enjoy its Pilsner. But those quote marks surrounding the word craft is too snarky.

        Hopefully, the brewery will still be holding tours.

  5. admin says:

    Hearing from one source the price was $100 million.

    Sounds high to be but…

    • balbonis moleskine says:

      I think it is wildly low. Unless Boulevard has massive amounts of debt on the books.

      They have an expanded working brewery that can handle 3x the current capacity.

      Bully will be worth three times the purchase price in a decade.

      Too bad though. Breweries always go downhill after they get bought out.

  6. harley says:

    while the rest of you sulk and are jealous…here is one person
    who say congratulations to all who were involved.
    A local takes a company….probably worked his a$$ off….probably
    put everything his soul could give to it….gambled everything he
    had on it…and then hit some good times and now walks away
    with millions!!!!!!
    Congrats John…know when to move and you did.
    WTF is wrong with you guys. All this backstabbing the guy
    …cutting down his product….then pulling outthe jealousy
    knives.
    Sit around and bitch all day long on your computers with your
    little make believe worlds.
    I say well done John…you deserve it all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    great guy…great company….great for thecommunity!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. glenn says:

    Is there going to be a chocolate beer this Valentine’s Day?

  8. Jeff says:

    I agree with Harley. This is a KC business success story through and through.

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