Miami’s first craft beer brewery is sold. What this means for South Florida craft beer drinkers

Miami’s first craft beer brewery is now the property of Portland, Oregon.

Wynwood Brewing Company, which opened in the popular arts district in 2013 as Miami’s first full-production craft brewery, has been purchased by Portland-based Craft Brew Alliance, a publicly traded company.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed. However, the deal was part of a three-brewery acquisition that totaled $45 million, according to the trade publication Brewbound.

Wynwood Brewing founder Luis G. Brignoni started the brewery with his father, Luis, for whom the Pops Porter is named, with the help of a $420,000 loan from the city of Miami. It went on to win one of the highest awards in the beer making world, a gold medal at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival. Brignoni told his staff the brewery would continue to run independently as part of the deal.

“Some people may question this decision, but for Pops and me it was an easy one— stay the same or embrace today’s fast-changing world of beer and help lead the future,” Brignoni wrote in a press release announcing the sale.

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Craft Brew Alliance’s CEO Andy Thomas (left to right) with Luis and Luis G. Brignoni, who sold their Wywnood Brewing Company to CBA Oct. 10. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.Handout
The win at GABF put Wynwood Brewing on the map — and in the sights of Big Beer, looking to acquire smaller independent breweries, as beer drinkers drifted away from the likes of Budweiser and Miller to locally made artisanal beers.

 

Wynwood Brewing had sold a quarter of its stakes to CBA in December 2016 to help it brew more of its Pops Porter and the popular La Rubia blonde ale. That initial 24.5 percent purchase was worth $2.1 million, Brewbound reported.

As part of the earlier deal, those two beers were brewed in a large-scale brewery in Portsmouth, NH.

“This is what success looks like — lot more people are going to have access to their beers,” CBA CEO Andy Thomas told the Miami Herald at the time, when it owned four breweries around the country, including brands Kona, Redhook and Widmer Brothers Brewing.

CBA added Massachusetts’ Cisco Brewers and North Carolina’s Appalachian Mountain Brewery as part of the $45 million deal, announced Wednesday.

Wynwood Brewing follows in the footsteps of Oakland Park’s Funky Buddha Brewery, started by a pair of South Florida brothers who sold to Constellation Brands in August 2017 for an estimated $80 million.

This sale means J. Wakefield Brewing is the only independently owned brewery remaining in Wynwood, long considered a hot spot for craft beer lovers. Veza Sur is wholly owned by Anheuser Busch. And Concrete Beach is owned by the Boston Beer Company, which owns Sam Adams.

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