News Drake’s Brewing Acquires Bear Republic

According to multiple sources, longtime Bear Republic Brewing in Sonoma County, California has been acquired by Drake’s Brewing Co. The acquisition includes only the brands and does not include the Bear Republic brewing facility.

The acquisition is yet another ‘craft-on-craft’ merger in the industry. Since the larger, global brewers have for the most part set aside acquiring craft breweries, selling to another craft brewing company has become the most likely exit strategy for those craft brewers who want to sell or have to sell for financial reasons.

Bear Republic was established by the Norgrove family in 1995, with Richard Norgrove as brewmaster. In 2006, Bear Republic was named Small Brewing Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival. Production reached around 80,000 bbls at its height with multi-state distribution.

The company’s original location was a brewpub in Healdsburg, California. In 2005 Bear Republic broke ground at their much larger production facility in nearby Cloverdale and in 2017 opened their Lakeside Brewpub in Rohnert Park. Bear Republic closed its 24-year-old Healdsburg brewpub in November 2019 and then closed the large Rohnert Park location recently after struggling through the pandemic.

The popular Racer 5 IPA and other Bear Republic brands will now be brewed and sold by Drakes Brewing, basically a line-extension of brands to their current portfolio. It is unknown what will happen with the brewing facility in Cloverdale.

Drake’s Brewing is owned by John Martin and Roy Kirkorian. John is a pioneer in the industry who founded Triple Rock Brewing in Berkeley, one of the first brewpubs in the country. He purchased Drakes along with Roy in 2008.

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