Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Widmer and Redhook Breweries Merge

My dad forwarded me an article from the Portland Business Journal about Widmer Brothers Brewery of Portland and Redhook Brewery of Woodinville, WA, merging to form a new company, Craft Brewers Alliance. The co-CEOs of the new company are David Mickelson, president and COO of Redhook, and Terry Michaelson, president of Craft Brands Alliance (Craft Brewers Alliance's marketing and sales arm, created before the merger). Kurt Widmer (guess which brewery he's from) is chairman of the board, and Paul Shipman (recent chairman and CEO of Redhook) is chairman emeritus. You can read more about it in this Portland Business Journal article (if the link is stale, here's a PDF version).

I think this is a good thing for both breweries, especially Redhook. According to a January 5, 2007 Oregonian article, Redhook hasn't posted an annual profit since 1996, compared to Widmer's double digit growth between 2002 and 2006. Since both companies A.) are partially owned by Budweiser and B.) have been working together for at least a few years now, I think this merger will go over well, so long as their beers remain separate. You know, keep the Widmer beers Widmer and the Redhook beers Redhook. I do like my Widmer Hefeweizen and my Redhook Chinook, and it would be a shame if they decided to combine all the beers and dropped or combined some.

I do have to say that the Widmer/Redhook conglomerate now presents some decent competition to Sam Adams, the other large craft brewer on the market today. Who knows, we may see some Widmer and Redhook commercials on TV in the next few years.

Apparently, Widmer and Redhook released a joint press release (on Widmer's site, or from here if that link gets stale) about the merger back in November 2007, and have been talking about it long before that, so the Portland Business-Journal is a little slow on the uptake.


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