Widmer Brothers Brewing in Oregon and Redhook Ale Brewery in Washington have reached an agreement in priciple to form a joint venture, a separate company, that will manage the sales and marketing of both the Widmer Brothers and Redhook Ale beer portfolios in the Western United States. It is expected that this entity will be called Craft Brands Alliance.
There remain significant negotiations to finalize these agreements subject to the approval of both companies’ Board of Directors and the correlating regulatory agencies, with all parties hoping to finalize details before summer.
“The craft beer industry was founded on the values of friendship and cooperation – small breweries helping each other whenever possible to make the best beer available for our customers. This new relationship is very much in the same spirit,” said Kurt Widmer of Widmer Brothers.
“We have developed a great relationship with our friends at Widmer and know that they share our enthusiasm and commitment to brewing and distributing the best tasting beer possible for the discerning customer,” said Paul Shipman, founder of the Redhook Ale Brewery.
Redhook, which has a brewery in New Hampshire as well as Washington, already produces and sells Widmer’s Hefeweizen in the Eastern United States under the existing licensing arrangement.
It is anticipated that the Redhook and Widmer breweries will continue to be operated and managed as separate and independent craft breweries and that Craft Brands Alliance will purchase beers from both breweries and will manage the selling and marketing of the beers through the distribution channel. Both companies have a distribution alliance with Anheuser-Busch, and A-B owns part of each brewery.
It is anticipated that Craft Brands Alliance will be headquartered in Portland, Oregon, and will blend the talents of Redhook’s and Widmer’s current sales and marketing teams.
Tuesday, Redhook announced 2003 fourth quarter shipments were up just slightly from 2003, 54,600 barrles versus 54,300. For the year ended Dec. 31, sales were up 3.2% and volume increased 1.3% to $42,213,000 and 228,800 barrels, respectively.