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Brewery enters 'long-term' partnership with iconic beer company

December 15, 2016
| By Pat Evans |
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New Holland Brewing Co. Dragon's Milk bottle production line
A worker at New Holland Brewing Co. inspects a new bottle of Dragon's Milk on the production line. Photo via fb.com

A major West Michigan craft brewery will receive a “long-term” boost from an iconic American beer company.

Holland-based New Holland Brewing Co. said this afternoon it has entered a partnership with Los Angeles-based Pabst Brewing Co.

Under the partnership, Pabst will push national sales and distribution for New Holland. It is the first such partnership for Pabst. 

The deal is meant to help further sales of New Holland across the nation and strengthen Pabst’s market share in the craft segment. Pabst’s sales force will sell New Holland’s beers as part of the company’s “high-end portfolio.”

Pabst will not take any equity in New Holland and will be "financially incentivized" to push New Holland products into "white space opportunities," New Holland Founder and President Brett VanderKamp said.

“This partnership allows us to distribute our beer brands to more consumers throughout the country by leveraging PBC’s robust sales and distribution platform,” VanderKamp said.

New Holland will remain independent and manage other functions of the company, including production, marketing and finance. New Holland’s spirits, restaurant and retail operations will continue to operate “as they currently do.”

“To my knowledge, this is the first deal in the history of craft beer where a large supplier is getting into a partnership with a small brewer without taking any ownership or receiving any option to buy the shares," said Simon Thorpe, CEO, Pabst Brewing Co. "This is a long-term agreement set up so that it can last for the next 20 years and beyond. It is not about Pabst simply selling some New Holland beer for a fee — there is a bigger idea in what we are building together that speaks to mutual trust, true partnership and a long-term vision of what we can accomplish.”

Among the draws for Pabst was New Holland’s Dragon’s Milk, a year-round bourbon-barrel stout that makes up nearly half of the brewery’s sales.

Pabst Brewing Co. Chairman Eugene Kashper said the company is “thrilled to be working with” VanderKamp and his brewery.

“Brett is a passionate brand owner who knows his business,” Kashper said. “He is programmed with the DNA of New Holland’s brands and is committed to using our platform’s capabilities to maximize success. This is a true long-term partnership on both sides.”

The “long-term” partnership will be effective in the first quarter of 2017.

“Five minutes into my first conversation with Eugene, I could tell I was going to like this guy,” VanderKamp said. “He is very entrepreneurial, and Pabst has a very unique view on partnerships. He understood our desire to remain independent, while finding ways to insure our long-term success. We quickly found that we share similar visions on building successful brands and being creative in a rapidly changing industry.”

Pabst Brewing Co.

Best known for Pabst Blue Ribbon, Pabst Brewing Co. was founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1844.

Pabst’s portfolio also includes a number of heritage regional beers, including Ballantine IPA, Lone Star, Rainier, Schlitz, Old Style, National Bohemian, Stag, Stroh’s and Old Milwaukee.

Pabst also has a partnership with Vermont Hard Cider Company and Small Town Brewery, the maker of Not Your Father’s Root Beer and related beverages.  

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