Redhook and Widmer Merger

Redhook Ale Brewery and Widmer Brothers Brewing have agreed to combine their businesses and become one company. The merger will create a combined company called Craft Brewers Alliance.

Both breweries are partially owned by Anehuser-Busch.

According to a company press release, “the companies see the merger as a natural next step for the two businesses that already operate partnerships in brewing, sales and marketing.” Following the merger, the Redhook and Widmer beers will remain separate brands in the marketplace.

The two breweries already have a sales and marketing joint venture called Craft Brands Alliance.

Kurt Widmer will serve as the company’s chairman of the board and Paul Shipman will serve as chairman emeritus. Dave Mickelson, Redhook’s current president and chief operating officer, and Terry Michaelson, president of Craft Brands Alliance, will serve as co-CEOs of the company.

The combined company will continue to be publicly traded on and will have management offices in both Portland and Woodinville.

“I believe that the merger will allow us even greater opportunity to deliver unique and great-tasting beers for our customers,” said Kurt Widmer, president and brewmaster of Widmer Brothers. “The two companies have a common goal–we both strive to brew the best possible beer for our customers.”

“Our combination of talented people, high-quality beers and first-class brewing operations presents tremendous advantages for the combined company,” said Paul Shipman, founder and chief executive officer of Redhook. “The two breweries have worked well together over the past few years, and I’m confident that we will be even stronger as one company.”

Although Redhook and Widmer have agreed to merge, the agreement is subject to shareholder and regulatory approval. The merger is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2008. The combined company will have breweries in Portland, Woodinville and Portsmouth, N.H.

The all stock transaction will result in Widmer shareholders and existing Redhook shareholders each holding approximately 50% of the outstanding shares in the combined company. Anheuser-Busch is expected to remain a strategic distribution partner for Widmer and Redhook products and will continue to hold an equity stake in the company following the merger.