While Lagunitas founder Tony Magee “remains bullish” on future, co’s willing to make adjustments in midst of slower growth, reported Santa Rosa Press Democrat. Lagunitas will delay production out of Azusa, CA facility until 2018, “even though construction is in process,” according to paper. “We just don’t need the capacity right away,” Tony said of the pause. “We were growing at 40 percent. Do I miss that? No. Growing at 40 percent is hard.” Recall, Lagunitas grew ~16% in 2016, was up 12% domestically thru first qtr of 2017 and its international biz is doubling (see Mar 31 issue). If Lagunitas keeps up pace in US, it will gain over 100K bbls and shoot past 1 mil bbls/yr mark this year.
Initially, Tony announced plans for Azusa facility in Jun 2015 and expected site to be up and running sometime in 2017. Yet even while Azusa gets postponed, Lagunitas just opened up Seattle taproom (serving as fundraiser space) and SC brewpub just released first beer, a low alc, hoppy pale ale called “Poirier’s Pale.” Tony and co expect to do more deals in local mkts across the country. And internationally, Lagunitas is putting foot on the gas. Mexico has been “recent focus,” and it just opened taproom in Barcelona, sez paper. Co also plans to convert two of Heineken’s London pubs into Lagunitas pubs and build a European brewery “likely” in UK (see CBN Vol 7, #70).
All in, Tony views overall craft segment slowdown as temporary. “The industry is terribly healthy. It’s just a phase it’s going through,” he told paper. “It’s like a hard winter on a herd of elk….It’s great thinning of the herd.” (Add that to collection of recent comments suggesting the “shakeout” is here). Then too, “there will be lots more deals,” particularly among “larger and medium-sized” cos. “At some point, you want to take money off the table and smell the daisies.”