Craft Brewers Alliance (Widmer, Redhook) purchasing Kona Brewing

John Foyston broke the news yesterday which seemed to surprise people:

Portland-based Craft Brewers Alliance Inc. said Tuesday it will pay $13.9 million for Hawaii’s Kona Brewing Co., cementing what had been a nine-year partnership.

Under the agreement, Kona will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Craft Brewers, which also distributes the beers of Chicago’s Goose Island Brewery. Craft Brewers was formed with the merger of Portland’s Widmer Brothers Brewing and Woodinville, Wash.,-based Redhook Ale Brewery in 2008.

As part of Craft Brewers, Kona will be able to expand its brand and distribution while maintaining its craft brewery operations in Hawaii, said Kurt Widmer, co-founder of Widmer Brothers Brewing. Kona beer for mainland distribution will continue to be brewed by Widmer and Redhook.

I’m not sure why it was surprising, as it makes perfect sense: Widmer has been brewing Kona’s beers here on the mainland for years (it’s costly to export from Hawaii), and this deal will not only be an extension of that but will also get Kona’s beers into wider distribution (always a good thing).

There will be (and already are) those who think this is a bad thing because these bigger craft brewers have “sold out” somehow, but Jeff over at Beervana zeroes in on this and talks about why this is in fact a good thing (and nails it).

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