Brewing company gets deep pockets
Steve’s breakdown: Tin Man Brewing Company is now owned by Neace Ventures and it looks like they’ll be putting real money behind the brand. The brewery number is 812 618 3227. The Neace number is (502) 379-6130.
LOUISVILLE, KY: Indiana-based Tin Man Brewing Company has been acquired by Neace Ventures, a Louisville-headquartered venture capital and real estate firm.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, however, a listing on Brewerbound’s Marketplace earlier this year offered the Evansville brewery for $2.4 million via National Restaurant Associates.
Shane Uttich, president of Louisville, Kentucky-based Falls City Brewing Company, which is also owned by Neace Ventures, told Brewbound that the Tin Man brand would remain largely unchanged.
“It’s going to stay intact,” said Uttich, who is the son-in-law of Neace Ventures chairman John Neace and spoke on behalf of the firm. “The brand reputation was very strong.”
Uttich told Brewbound that Tin Man and Falls City will remain independent entities, while adding that the companies will benefit from synergies such as ingredient buying.
Nick Davidson, Tin Man’s founder, will continue with the company as president and head brewer, Uttich added.
“We’re very excited about this partnership,” Davidson said in a press release. “We have always been a family business, and now we’re becoming a part of a bigger family.”
Davidson will work with the Neace Ventures staff to operate the brewery, Uttich said. However, Tin Man will receive back office and accounting support from Neace Ventures.
“From Neace Ventures’ perspective, it’s important that the brands remain independent of one another,” he said. “We’ll control the behind-the-scenes stuff that was bogging Tin Man down.”
Among the issues that crippled Tin Man was an excessively large menu in the brewery’s restaurant, Uttich said. In late March, Tin Man abruptly closed its restaurant and taproom while continuing brewery production for distribution to Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee.
At the time, Davidson wrote in a blog post that taproom and restaurant sales did not meet the company’s original expectations, and that revenues from the production and distribution of Tin Man products were keeping the brewery afloat.
“We no longer have the resources to keep that relationship going and it’s with a heavy heart that we announce that we must close the tasting room,” he wrote at the time.
Uttich told Brewbound that Tin Man’s production business “growing” and “profitable.”
Nevertheless, Tin Man will reopen its taproom and restaurant, with a simplified menu, in about four-to-six weeks, Uttich said.
“We don’t want to drag it out too far,” he said. “We will not have 47 things you can choose from on the menu.”
In March, an ad referred to Tin Man as a “state-of-the-art Midwest brewery with real estate.” The listing said the brewery operated out of a 15,000 sq. ft. building with the ability to produce 10,000 barrels of beer annually. The location also includes a 190-seat restaurant with a tasting room, barrel-aging cellar and warehouse (Tin Man produced about 4,000 barrels of beer in 2016, Uttich said).
Tin Man also operates a satellite brewpub in Kokomo, Ind., and Uttich said he could envision opening another brewpub in the state in the future. For now, though, the firm will focus on growing Tin Man’s draft beer and can business.
Meanwhile, Neace Ventures is building a new brewery and taproom for Falls City in the NuLu area of Louisville. The move would bring Falls City’s production in-house; the majority of the brewery’s beer is made via a contract brewing arrangement with Blackstone Brewing Co. in Nashville, Tenn.
Last year, Falls City produced about 4,000 barrels, and Uttich expects that brand to grow about five to 10 percent in 2017.
“We are going to grow in our hometown of Louisville,” he said. “The further out you go from your own backyard, the tighter things are getting.”
Construction on the new brewery is slated to begin this month, and Uttich expects to open before the end of the year, pending license approvals.
Once the project is completed, some of Tin Man’s beer will be brewed at Falls City’s new facility, and vice-versa.