Craft Brewing company not bought by Bud

Steve’s breakdown: Well this is refreshing. Arbor Brewing Company is cashing in a bit but not with the devil. Farm + Ferment purchased the brewery which is added to their other holding Michigan Hop Alliance, Northport Farms, Baia Estate Vineyard, Bacco Ristorante, and Cloverleaf Fine Wine. We believe Hop + Ferment is the lead but might as well give Arbor a call too.

Mike Collins is a managing principal at Farm + Ferment.

YPSILANTI, MI: Michigan-based hospitality business holding company Farm + Ferment announced last week that it had acquired one of the state’s oldest craft brands, Arbor Brewing Company.

The purchase includes two brewpubs, one in Ann Arbor and another in Ypsilanti, as well as the sale of the brand’s North American Rights by Matt and René Greff, who founded the brewery in July of 1995.

“Acquiring a brewery fit perfectly with our long-term strategy,” Farm + Ferment managing principal Mike Collins said in a press release. “We’ve been very successful with our wine and hop businesses, and are continuing to expand the Bigalora Wood Fired Cucina brand. We were in the initial planning stages of a new brewery when we started discussions with the Greffs. We all knew right away that this was an ideal situation for everyone.”

Collins told Brewbound that his team had been scouting locations to build a brewery when the Greffs inquired about a partnership last fall.

Terms of the deal were not released, but Collins told Brewbound that Farm + Ferment has bought out all of Arbor Brewing Company’s initial investors.

Meanwhile, Greff Brewing Services LLC will retain the exclusive rights to Arbor Brewing Company in India, where the company has a Bangalore outpost.

Farm + Ferment and the Greffs will share Arbor Brewing’s brand rights in the rest of the world.

“In an era of craft breweries being gobbled up by multi-nationals, we couldn’t be more pleased to be joining a consortium of local, independent Michigan operators representing the best of our industries,” René Greff said in a press release. “This strategic partnership will allow both the Arbor Brewing Company Brewpub and Microbrewery to continue to grow and thrive in an evolving craft beer marketplace, and it will free Matt and I up to do what we love best – promote and grow the brand here and abroad.”

The Greffs will continue on with Arbor Brewing Company in a consulting role and as brand ambassadors.

“We expect them to be very active on the front end of it through the transition and getting us up to speed on what their activities have been,” Collins said.

Farm + Ferment will retain all of Arbor Brewing Company’s employees.

“We’ll continue to rely on the Arbor staff and management team for the day-to-day operations,” Collins said.

Collins told Brewbound that any changes to Arbor Brewing Company will be “evolutionary rather than revolutionary.” However, the company is planning to upgrade both locations’ kitchens and expand the production brewery’s capacity.

Currently, Arbor’s Ypsilanti production facility brews 6,000 barrels annually with a maximum capacity of 10,000 barrels. Farm + Ferment plans to increase its production to 20,000 barrels “in the not-too-distant future.”

“Our goal is to increase capacity to around 30,000 barrels to allow for future growth,” Collins said.

Arbor Brewing Company’s beer — including flagship Buzzsaw IPA, Ypsi Gypsi session IPA, Strawberry Blonde and Euchre Pilsner — is distributed on draft and in bottles statewide in Michigan and Ohio. The company plans to add canned beer by the end the year, Collins said.

Farm + Ferment is also considering seeding Arbor Brewing Company brewpubs in the southeast, southwest and northwest lower peninsula of Michigan.

Collins expects more synergies with Arbor Brewing and Farm + Ferment’s other Michigan-based hospitality businesses includes Michigan Hop Alliance, Northport Farms, Baia Estate Vineyard, Bigalora Wood Fired Cucina, Bacco Ristorante and Cloverleaf Fine Wine.

Arbor Brewing has an existing relationship with the Michigan Hop Alliance hop farm, and Collins expects that to grow with Arbor possibly producing seasonal single-hop beers. Meanwhile, Collins envisions more experimental and one-off beers being served at Bigalora restaurant.

Read the full press release below.

ARBOR BREWING COMPANY JOINS MICHIGAN-BASED FARM + FERMENT

Ann Arbor, Mich. May 11, 2017 – Arbor Brewing Company, one of Michigan’s oldest craft beer brands, has joined the Farm + Ferment family of Michigan-based hospitality businesses, that includes Michigan Hop Alliance, Northport Farms, Baia Estate Vineyard, Bigalora Wood Fired Cucina, Bacco Ristorante and Cloverleaf Fine Wine, through an acquisition by ABC Brew Holding, LLC and ABC Brew Production, LLC.

Farm + Ferment’s ABC Brew Holding, LLC and ABC Brew Production, LLC have acquired the membership interests of Arbor Brewing Company founders Matt and René Greff, and the other investors, in both Arbor Brewing Company, LLC and Corner Brewery, LLC, respectively, and engaged the Greffs in a 10-year agreement. Along with the business assets, ABC Brew Holding, LLC will have exclusive brand rights throughout North America. Greff Brewing Services, LLC will retain exclusive rights to Arbor Brewing Company throughout India, and the two entities will share the brand rights throughout the rest of the world.

“In an era of craft breweries being gobbled up by multi-nationals, we couldn’t be more pleased to be joining a consortium of local, independent Michigan operators representing the best of our industries,” René Greff said. “This strategic partnership will allow both the Arbor Brewing Company Brewpub and Microbrewery to continue to grow and thrive in an evolving craft beer marketplace, and it will free Matt and I up to do what we love best – promote and grow the brand here and abroad.”

“Acquiring a brewery fit perfectly with our long-term strategy,” said Mike Collins, managing principal, Farm + Ferment. “We’ve been very successful with our wine and hop businesses, and are continuing to expand the Bigalora Wood Fired Cucina brand. We were in the initial planning stages of a new brewery when we started discussions with the Greffs. We all knew right away that this was an ideal situation for everyone.”

Collins goes on to say that all current employees will remain, and ABC Brew Production, LLC has plans to expand the Ypsilanti location and eventually open additional brewpubs around the state.

About Arbor Brewing Company

Founded by husband and wife team Matt and Rene Greff who share a passion for beer and adventure, Arbor Brewing Company has been a pioneer in the craft beer industry since opening the original Arbor Brewing Company Pub and Eatery in downtown Ann Arbor, Mich. in July of 1995. It was the first solar powered brewpub in Michigan, with photovoltaic solar panels on the roof and geothermal heating and cooling systems in the building. The brand expanded in 2006 with The Microbrewery Brew Pub and Beer Garden in Ypsilanti, known as Corner Brewery, and was acquired by ABC Brew Holding, LLC and ABC Brew Production, LLC in May of 2017. For more information, visit www.arborbrewing.com.

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