Okay we get that this isn’t the world-shaking announcement that Wicked Weed’s recent sale to AB InBev was…But it speaks volumes to San Diego’s brewing community, who are increasingly feeling craft beer’s ‘winds of change.’
On Tuesday, we received a press release from Coronado Brewing announcing that they would be acquiring Monkey Paw Brewing, and as usual with these kinds of things, the deal’s financial terms (which is expected to close on September 1st) weren’t disclosed.
Many of you may be unfamiliar with Monkey Paw Brewing. They’re a small but progressive boutique brewpub in San Diego’s East Village with a passionate hipster following.
And in a region dominated by significant players like Stone (the nation’s 10th largest craft brewer). They’re beloved by beer-savvy locals but still a blip on the craft beer’s national radar.
According to Pete Rowe at the San Diego Union Tribune Monkey Paw brewed but 650 barrels of beer in 2016, the same year that Stone cranked out 345,000 barrels and Coronado a workman-like 39, 000.
And although Monkey Paw might be seen as a minor player production-wise, they brew serious beer in a serious beer town, and its owner Scot Blair is a well-known figure in San Diego’s vaunted craft beer scene.
In his interview with Pete Rowe, Blair indicated that his decision to sell to the much larger Coronado Brewing which is currently distributed in 16 states and 12 nations, was based on two overriding factors…craft beer’s “strange climate” and his straight- forward desire to expand his brand and get “more Monkey Paw beer out there.”
And the fact that Blair has a long history and friendship with Coronado’s Rick and Ron Chapman made his decision an obvious move.
Clearly San Diego is feeling craft beer’s changing landscape. Competition has led to consolidation in one of craft beer’s most important regions and what’s playing out here is a microcosm for what were increasingly seeing all across the nation.
Both Ballast Point and Saint Archer “sold out” to Big Beer entities in 2015…And AB InBev’s 10 Barrel recently opened a brewpub in San Diego, as did Danish Brewer Mikkeller.
The region currently has well over 120 breweries, and in spite of increasing brewery closings (Twisted Manzanita, URBN St), and we expect that that number will continue to grow.
And with craft beer’s ‘winds of change’ only growing stronger, Blair’s decision to seek some shelter under the Coronado umbrella is as defensively street-savvy, as it is understandable…