Four years ago, California craft brewer Ballast Point shocked the beer world when it abandoned IPO plans and accepted a $1 billion offer from Constellation Brands. Today, the company has shocked beer fans all over again.
Ballast Point has been sold again, this time to Chicago-area Kings & Convicts Brewing Co., a relative unknown on the national beer scene. The sale price was not announced, but it’s likely far less than the $1 billion the company was valued at in 2015.
That Constellation unloaded Ballast Point isn’t especially shocking. The days of explosive growth in the craft beer industry are over. From 2016–2017, Ballast Point’s total volume declined roughly 14%, while sales of packaged goods fell 11%. Growing competition from small local breweries ate into sales of flagship brands like Sculpin IPA and Grapefruit Sculpin.
But Kings & Convicts, a privately held company founded in 2017, currently only sells beer in two states – Illinois and Wisconsin. So its acquisition of a nationally (and internationally) distributed brand, along with four brewpubs, including one in Downtown Disney in Anaheim, Calif, is a big leap.
“We’re excited to welcome the team at Ballast Point into the Kings & Convicts family,” said Brendan Watters, Kings & Convicts’ chief executive officer, in a statement. “As craft brewers, we have long admired the quality and spirit of the Ballast Point brand and team. … Our goal is to leverage Ballast Point’s deep know-how, talented and passionate employee base, and outstanding operating team to grow both Ballast Point and Kings & Convicts together.”
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