Heineken acquires remaining shares of Lagunitas Brewing Co.

SHARE Heineken acquires remaining shares of Lagunitas Brewing Co.

Tony Magee shows off the 300,000-square-foot brewing facility during a distributor party at the Lagunitas brewery in Chicago in 2014. | Peter Holderness / Sun-Times file photo

Dutch beer maker Heineken has acquired the remaining shares of Chicago- and California-based Lagunitas Brewing Co., officials with both companies announced Thursday.

In a blog post that begins “Greetings Beer Lovers,” Tony Magee, Lagunitas’ founder and executive chairman, tried to reassure his customers that the move — which transfers the remaining 50 percent stake in Lagunitas to Heineken — doesn’t mean he’s “selling out.”

“I am using Lagunitas’ equity to buy deeper into an organization that will help us go farther more quickly than we could have on our own,” Magee wrote in a blog post on the company website. “You hafta imagine Jonah standing on the gunnel of the storm-tossed ship and intentionally leaping into the mouth of the whale to embrace the transformation and emerge to become his own destiny.”

Heineken employs 73,500 people in some 70 countries, according to the company.

While Heineken, which acquired a 50 percent stake in the company in 2015, has helped the brewery introduce its brand to markets in Europe and Mexico, Magee said he looks forward to the day when Lagunitas beers are available in more far-flung locations.

“The coolest thing is that there is a place in bars all over the world for a tasty IPA or two or three or four, but we couldn’t get there because we couldn’t afford to,” he said in the blog post. “Here in the USA we could climb any mountain, but Cape Town is a long way away.”

Terms of the deal were not made available.

In a statement, Jean-Francois van Boxmeer, Heineken’s CEO and chairman of the executive board, said: “Our partnership with Lagunitas has been a great success and today’s announcement marks the next stage of an exciting journey. We look forward to accelerating the roll-out of the Lagunitas brand to many more markets, and sharing Lagunitas craft beer with many more consumers around the world.”

Magee, 57, who will remains Lagunitas’ executive chairman, said he is now entering his “third act” of life.

“I can’t wait to see what happens next,” he wrote. “I hope you all follow [along]. We will surprise you . . . again! Cheers to you, beer lovers everywhere.”

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