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Lagunitas Brewing Co pledges allegience to Adnams in UK

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Lagunitas Brewing Co is to maintain its UK distribution deal with Adnams but will align with new partner Heineken as it expands into the rest of Europe.

Adnams is Lagunitas distributor in the UK

Adnams is Lagunitas' distributor in the UK

Lagunitas, which yesterday sold a 50% stake to Heineken, said that under the terms of the deal, it will keep all existing distribution relationships. UK brewer Adnams has handled Lagunitas' brands in the country for a number of years and will continue to do so, Lagunitas founder & chairman Tony Magee told just-drinks.

“We already sell beer and do quite well in the UK,” Magee said. “[Adnams] do a wonderful job with us. But then, that's not the whole of Europe - there is Germany, there is Spain, Italy and all those other places where I believe we will find beer lovers.”

Magee added: “As we go forward, our distribution will be aligned with [Heineken]. Heineken understands that the relationships we have now matter and that disturbing them isn’t productive.”

Lagunitas toook a reported US$500m for Heineken's half share, with analysts positive over the deal. Some within the craft beer industry have been less supportive - the founder of Scottish brewer Brewdog, James Watt, tweeted yesterday that his bars will no longer stock Lagunitas.

Is Heineken right to jump into bed with Lagunitas? Click here for an analysis

However, Magee said people who were against the deal “don't quite understand”.

“This is a very exciting thing for a brewery like us,” he said. “The kind of distribution networks that [Heineken] have, that took lifetimes to build. It's a big deal.”

He also said Brewer's Association rules in the US that state craft brewers cannot have more than 25% owned by a non-craft brewer were “irrelevant”.

“They [the BA] may well decide they need to change the rules,” Magee said. “I don't really care if they don't. They may decide we are no longer a craft brewer, in which case shame on them.”

Meanwhile, Magee said he had been “knocked out by the kindness” of Heineken's leadership team, adding that CEO Jean-François van Boxmeer was now “like an old friend”.

“In certain respects it's the same as what soldiers have in common,” Magee said. “We've both been through the same battles leading a brewery.”


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