Food Service & Agriculture, Manufacturing, and Retail

Founders selling majority stake to Spanish company

August 30, 2019
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Founders Brewing Co. taproom
People fill up the beer garden seating at Founders Brewing Co.'s taproom in downtown Grand Rapids. Photo via fb.com

Founders Brewing Co. is handing over majority ownership to a Spanish brewer.

Madrid-based Mahou San Miguel Group will be buying out all existing Founders shareholders except for the founders of the brewery, Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers, according to Founders yesterday.

As a result, Mahou San Miguel will become the majority owner of Grand Rapids-based Founders.

Mahou will own 90% of Founders, and Stevens and Engbers will each own 5% of the company, according to the Associated Press yesterday. 

Mahou San Miguel has been Spain’s largest brewer for over 130 years and is 100% family owned.

The transaction is pending regulatory approval.

Founders will retain autonomy in managing its business, products and teams, with Mahou acting in a supporting role.

Engbers and Stevens will continue to be shareholders and have no intention of leaving. There are currently no plans for Mahou to purchase 100% of the company.

Founders assured its fans the increased investment from Mahou will not change Founders’ brewing process or product lineup, and the leadership team will not change either. There are no plans for Founders to produce Mahou-brand beers in Grand Rapids or Detroit.

Mahou and Founders partnered in April to purchase a 70% stake in Avery Brewing in Boulder, Colorado. There are no plans to roll Founders and Avery together as a result of this most recent development.

Founders sold a 30% stake in its company to Mahou in 2014, the Business Journal previously reported. Originally, the deal was meant to help grow Founders through Mahou’s international distribution network, as the pair would focus on long-term growth, and Founders would "remain Founders.”

The deal also gave Mahou an entrance into the massive U.S. craft beer market.

“We decided to partner with Mahou group in late 2014 to help strengthen the legacy of our brewery, to ensure it would last for generations to come,” Founders said yesterday.

“As Spain’s largest and oldest brewery, Mahou group values legacy above all else and that value was critical in informing our decision to partner with them.

“Mahou group has allowed us to grow and thrive as an autonomous partner, and even with their increased investment, the plan is to continue to allow us to pursue our dreams as we always have.”

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