Mammoth Brewing reaches deal to buy Great Basin
It might not qualify as David acquiring Goliath, but as Mammoth Brewing Company CEO Sean Turner says, he can think of no other example within the brewing industry of a smaller brewer buying a larger one.
On Monday, Mammoth Brewing Company announced its intent to acquire Great Basin Brewing Co. of Reno, Nevada.
The deal will be debt and equity financed. Terms were not disclosed.
Mammoth Brewing Company currently produces 5,000 barrels annually and employs 45. Great Basin produces 10,000 barrels annually and employs 110.
The key to the deal, however, may be in the barrels Great Basin is not producing.
As Turner explained, Great Basin has production capacity of 30,000 barrels at its Reno facility, while Mammoth Brewing has been struggling to keep up with out of town demand.
“We’ve literally had to stop Southern California distribution in past years to make sure we had enough beer to serve locally.” Overall, Turner says he can typically fill 50-75% of his Southern California orders.
Two brewpubs Great Basin owns are also included in the deal, though no real estate is involved in the transaction.
Turner described the deal as more of a merger than an acquisition. He’s known Great Basin founder Tom Young for more than a decade, and they’ve been discussing a deal since last year. “I like the Great Basin name,” says Turner. “[It evokes] the spirit of Nevada.”
Both men appear in a four-minute video love-in discussing the deal at www.brewedinthewild.com.
The deal makes sense for Mammoth Brewing on multiple fronts beyond increased capacity.
1. It’s 25% cheaper to brew beer in Nevada versus California.
2. Great Basin has a canning line.
3. Great Basin distributes in Utah, and that market, along with the Bay Area, are targets for the merged entity starting next year.
Turner strongly emphasized (approx. every four minutes during the interview) that “beer brewed in Mammoth will stay in Mammoth.”
Not quite there
Despite Monday’s announcement, the deal hasn’t been finalized. That probably won’t happen for another three or four months, around Bluesapalooza.
Swirling rumors which resulted in inquiries from the Reno Gazette-Journal moved up the timeline so that Mr. Young could notify employees before they learned of the news elsewhere.
The Sheet asked if Turner’s estranged wife Joyce will be part of the new company.
Turner said she is not in the deal and he is buying her out.
Turner will serve as CEO. And he announced Wednesday that Dion Agee has been tabbed as the new Vice-President of Mammoth Operations.
The combined company hopes to double its production within the next few years. For comparison’s sake, that would put it at approximately the same size as North Coast Brewing.
Turner said Alterra Resorts CEO Rusty Gregory was somewhat of an inspiration behind the deal – pointing to Mammoth’s earlier-in-the-decade acquisition of Snow Summit and Big Bear. “There’s been a lot of consolidation in the [brewing] industry,” explained Turner. “Now is the time to buy.”