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Craft Brewer Kings & Convicts Brewing Buys San Diego's Ballast Point Brewing From Constellation Brands

December 3, 2019

Chicago-based Kings & Convicts Brewing Co. announced today it has signed an agreement with Constellation Brands to acquire Ballast Point and a number of its associated production facilities and brewpubs, excluding the production brewery in Daleville, Virginia, which will remain a part of Constellation’s Craft & Specialty division. A pioneer in the craft beer movement in San Diego, Ballast Point has a 20-plus-year history of supporting the art of homebrewing and creating high-quality, innovative and award-winning beer.

"We're excited to welcome the team at Ballast Point into the Kings & Convicts family," said Kings & Convicts CEO Brendan Watters. "As craft brewers, we have long admired the quality and spirit of the Ballast Point brand and team. Their best-in-class brewing standards will remain unchanged, delivering the same high-quality, award-winning beer the company has become known for over the years. Our goal is to leverage Ballast Point’s deep know-how, talented and passionate employee base, and outstanding operating team to grow both Ballast Point and Kings & Convicts together."

Kings & Convicts will retain all positions within Ballast Point’s existing workforce, which is comprised of approximately 560 employees. The company will continue to utilize Ballast Point’s current U.S. distribution network and plans to hire a sales and marketing workforce to support long-term growth in all 50 states.

Kings & Convicts is a privately-held company backed by a small group of investors who are passionate about the Ballast Point brand and who are focused on the long term. Co-founded in 2017 by Englishman, COO and head brewer, Chris Bradley, and Aussie and CEO, Brendan Watters, Kings & Convicts brews ales and lagers out of its 5,000 square-foot Highwood brewery and taproom in the North Shore of Chicago, which are available on draft and in cans at the taproom and in bars and restaurants across Chicago and Wisconsin. With many years between them separately operating and managing successful global businesses in the hospitality, finance, GPS and mobile technology sectors, Chris and Brendan connected over their mutual love for good craft beer. The duo announced plans earlier this year to open a second location of Kings & Convicts in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, approximately 30 miles from Milwaukee. The 48,000 square-foot destination brewery will house a large production brewhouse, taproom, restaurant and event space and is expected to open in Fall 2020.

As part of the transaction, Kings & Convicts will acquire Ballast Point’s four brewpub locations in California, including Downtown Disney/Anaheim, Long Beach, Miramar, and Little Italy, as well as the newest Ballast Point brewpub located in Chicago’s Fulton Market District, which opened in May of this year and Ballast Point’s original homebrewing supply and tasting room in San Diego’s Linda Vista neighborhood.

"We look forward to engaging the community and getting a connection back to the local markets through our distributor partners, on and off-premise retailers and our dedicated salesforce ambassadors," said Chris Bradley, Kings & Convicts’ chief operating officer. "Ballast Point has well-established R&D programs and we want to continue fostering that innovation and experimentation by listening to our consumers and serving specialty and local beers in each market."

Founded in 1996 by San Diego's Jack White, Ballast Point Brewing sold in late 2015 to NY-based Constellation Brands for $1 Billion. Current volume of Ballast Point is expected to surpass 200,000 barrels in 2019 and is available in all 50 states as well as internationally in 19 countries including South Korea, Sweden, Australia, and New Zealand. Financial terms of the deal, which is expected to close once all licenses and permits have been received, were not disclosed but Ballast insiders report it to be between $200-300 million. Being Constellation is public, the sale price will have to be disclosed next year when it finalizes. There are also rumors that Samuel Adams Boston Brewery attempted to buy Ballast Point from Constellation.