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October 24, 2013

Ommegang parent buys Mo. brewery

Move will boost local production

The parent company of Brewery Ommegang has struck a deal to purchase Boulevard Brewing Co., a move that local executives say will boost production at both the Cooperstown brewery and Boulevard’s brewery in Kansas City, Mo.

The financial terms of the private deal were not disclosed in an announcement made Thursday afternoon.

The acquisition will make Duvel Moortgat the eighth-largest independent craft brewer in the United States, said Simon Thorpe, the president and chief executive officer of Brewery Ommegang.

Boulevard, with 125 employees, had been ranked as the twelfth-largest craft brewer in the nation.

Both Brewery Ommegang and Boulevard Brewing will remain independent, Thorpe said.

Boulevard Brewing was founded 25 years ago by a Kansas City entrepreneur and master cabinetmaker, John McDonald, who will now become an investment partner in Duvel Moortgat’s U.S. business, Thorpe said.

Thorpe emphasized that the acquisition was made in order to allow both breweries to expand, not to trim overhead.

“What this transaction is not about is squeezing everything together and slashing costs and making people redundant,” Thorpe said. “On the contrary, we are looking to grow all three businesses (Ommegang, Boulevard and imports from Duvel’s European breweries).”

Boulevard now produces about 220,000 hectoliters of beer each year, far exceeding the total of 74,000 hectoliters sold by Ommegang and Duvel in the US, Thorpe noted. One barrel of beer equals 1.17 hectoliters.

Brewery Ommegang — now with 101 employees, up from 40 in 2009 — has annual revenues of $38 million, Thorpe said. He said Brewery Ommegang includes to add several new jobs in the coming year, including four workers who would be involved in beer production.

Thorpe called the acquisition good news for workers at Brewery Ommegang.

“We’re expecting a volume of growth to come out of this for Ommegang,” he said. “We are at about 50 percent of capacity now. We have invested about $14 million here in the last three years, and we have more than doubled our business in the last three years, and we want to do the same in the next three years. This announcement today will only help us accelerate that.”

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