California-based Mad River Brewery has been acquired by indigenous California tribe Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians.

The Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians, which also owns several casinos, acquired the brewery from the Yurok Tribe in Northwestern California for an undisclosed sum.

Paskenta said it aims to “continue… to build [Mad River’s] economic portfolio” and create “an economically sustainable future for our tribe”.

The deal includes the Mad River brand, recipes, IP and brewery machinery. The brewery building was not part of the deal.

Mad River CEO Linda Cooley told Just Drinks the changes in ownership would not affect the brewery’s 14 employees or executive team.

Paskenta opened The Paskenta Brewery and Distillery in November 2021, becoming the first tribal-owned distillery in California.

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Tribal chairman Andrew Alejandre said: “Acquiring Mad River Brewery is another milestone in Paskenta’s commitment to building an economically sustainable future for our tribe and serving as an economic growth driver for our neighbours.

“We’ve enjoyed great community response since opening Paskenta Brewery and Distillery. Now, with the acquisition of Mad River Brewery, we’re honoured to extend our expertise in blending tribal identity and craft beer to the Northern California community and tribes across the nation.”

“As we continue to innovate, we proudly lead the way in crafting beers and spirits within Indian Country,” he said.

Mad River was acquired by the Yurok Agricultural Corporation in 2019. The company was fully owned by the Yurok Tribe.

As well as beer, it produces spirits, rum, whiskey and RTD whiskey cocktails in glass bottles.

Cooley said the new owner planned to “continue the growth and path [the beer producer is] on, along with growing Paskenta line of spirits as well”.

She said: “The time and effort Paskenta has put into a Tribal brewery and Tribal distillery is extensive. With the needs they have… it made perfect sense [to own Mad River].

“It fills my heart to know the business will remain in tribal hands and continue supporting the tribal community. I have no doubt Mad River Brewery will continue its growth with this Paskenta Partnership,” said Cooley.

Mad River products are available in California retailers including Costco and Target, via e-commerce with Safeway and online wine stores such as Bevmo and Total Wine.

The Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians employs over 500 staff and also owns Rolling Hills Casino and Resort, which includes the casino, three restaurants, two conference centres, a brewery and distillery, and other entertainment assets.

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