October 15, 2018
Cascadia Capital, an investment bank serving middle market clients globally, today announced it acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Cisco Brewers in its acquisition by Craft Brew Alliance (“CBA”), a leading craft brewing company that brews, brands, and brings to market world-class American craft beers.
Located near Cisco Beach on the island of Nantucket, Cisco Brewers is Nantucket’s first craft brewery. Founded by hard-working, entrepreneurial islanders who started selling beer from their outdoor brewery in 1995, Cisco has carved out its own special place where they tough out winters to celebrate summers. Over the years, Cisco has attracted a cult following among visitors and opens its doors to anyone making the trek.
CBA and Cisco Brewers entered into a strategic brewing and distribution partnership in December 2015, which supported the Nantucket, Massachusetts brewery’s efforts to evolve its core portfolio and bring more of its island-inspired beers, including Whale’s Tale Pale Ale and Grey Lady Ale, to consumers throughout New England. Earlier this year, CBA spearheaded the launch of Cisco’s newest year-round beer, Gripah, a refreshing grapefruit IPA, that is the #4 new IPA as measured by Nielsen Boston Liquor. This summer, the Cisco team helped re-brand CBA’s Portsmouth pub, bringing a slice of Nantucket to the New England mainland, and opened a new outdoor pub in Boston’s Seaport.
Under the unique agreement between CBA and Cisco, the two companies will continue to work closely and collaboratively together in the future. Going forward, CBA will own the Cisco Brewers brand and beer business, while the Cisco founders will continue to own and operate the Cisco Brewers brewpub properties and retail merchandising, including the original brewery and grounds in Nantucket. CBA plans to increase marketing spend and resources to support Cisco’s growth. Additionally, Cisco will now have access to CBA’s full breadth of resources – across brewery operations, supply chain, finance, marketing, and talent development – helping drive continued innovation and greater levels of support for its local community.
Jay Harman, CEO of Cisco Brewers, said “By having CBA invest in our beer brands we’ll be able to serve our customers better than ever on Nantucket, as well as take the island experience on the road to more fun-loving people and dogs. This past summer, we added locations in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and a pop-up in Boston’s Seaport district, and the positive reception has been really encouraging. Our founders will remain personally involved with CBA’s team on the wholesale business while operating the retail side independently, and we’re all psyched because everyone sees this as a win/win.”
“Cascadia Capital was pleased to play a role in this very unique transaction; one in which Cisco and its founders were able to retain the retail merchandising rights and brewpub properties, most importantly the Nantucket operations where it all started and where the founders make their home,” said Townsend Ziebold, Managing Director at Cascadia.
“Cascadia took the time to understand what the founders really wanted,” added Mr. Harman. “They understood every aspect of our complex and quirky island business. They guided us through the deal and every little carve out, and helped us create a unique opportunity for Cisco Brewers and its partners. It will go down in history as one of the most creative beer deals in the craft beer era.”
This acquisition represents another successful transaction for Cascadia in the craft beer industry. Past transactions include the acquisition of Firestone Walker by Duvel Moortgat, the sale of a minority interest of Avery Brewing Co. to Mahou San Miguel and the sale of a minority interest of Brooklyn Brewery to Kirin.
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