Beavertown has become the latest craft brewer to be swallowed up by a global drinks corporation, after Heineken bought the 51% of the company it did not already own, in a deal likely to net its founder tens of millions of pounds.
The Dutch multinational bought a minority stake in Beavertown in 2018, with the £40m proceeds used to fund expansion, including the construction of a new brewery in Enfield, London.
Heineken’s deep pockets have since helped the craft brewer’s sales almost triple from £12.7m in 2018 to £35m in 2020, the last year before sales were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Beavertown’s growth has been underpinned by its increased production capacity and a partnership with Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, including an on-site brewery serving more than 60,000 people at every match.
Heineken said on Wednesday it has now bought the remaining 49% stake from Logan Plant, the son of the Led Zeppelin frontman, Robert, in a deal that adds Beavertown’s name to a long list of craft brewers to have challenged big beer companies, only to be bought out.
Landmark buyouts in the sector include Camden Brewery’s sale to the Budweiser owner, AB InBev, SABMiller’s purchase of Meantime, Carlsberg’s takeover of London Fields and Heineken’s acquisition of a stake in Brixton brewery.
The flood of money-spinning takeovers has raised questions about the meaning of the term craft brewer, a label that some in the industry see as requiring independence from ownership by a major corporation.
Beavertown said 50 jobs could be created as a result of the takeover. It did not disclose the price tag but its growth since Heineken’s initial £40m investment indicates that Plant’s stake is likely to have been sold for tens of millions of pounds.
Plant, who will step down as chief executive to act as an adviser, said: “Beavertown began in my kitchen, 10 years ago: from brewing in a rice pan to one of the most successful British brewers in recent years, employing over 160 people and brewing 360,000 hectolitres of beer.
“Its success is something I could never have predicted back then, and I am extremely proud that we have agreed the deal with Heineken, which is the natural next step for Beavertown, its brands and, most importantly, its people.”