12 September 2022
Just why did Heineken buy Beavertown Brewery?
In 2018, Heineken took their first £40m stake in Beavertown. By year end 31st March 2020, Beavertown sales had almost tripled from £12.7m to £35.2m. Now, in September 2022, Heineken has purchased the remaining shares - and if the rumours are true - at a cost north of £200m.
Beavertown founder Logan Plant, son of Led Zeppelin frontman Robert, has moved into an advisory role. This takeover follows a number of cult beer brands being taken over by the multi-nationals. Meantime was taken over by SABMiller in 2015 for £120m, Camden Town Brewery was sold later that year to AB Inbev for £85m, Fourpure became part of Kirin Holdings in 2018.
The beer market has been radically changing over the last couple of decades, with new occasions and new need states. The majority of the big brewers have iconic lager brands, but it's a category that has been static for far too long. The new craft beer breweries simply became relevant at a time when lager was starting to lose its own.
Why haven't the multi-nationals been able to create their own independent craft beer brands? Because by nature they are focused on mega brands and they rarely have the time or patience in which to invest in start-ups and incubate them.
And the biggest factor of all? Authenticity. It's difficult to incubate a new challenger brand from within a behemoth; the public can sniff it a mile off and simply turn away. Logan Plant created a brand identity that stood out from a very crowded category, the vivid and wild Beavertown cartoon illustration world just appealed to a whole new generation of drinkers. I can't wait to see what he does next. Many will say he sold out, but in truth he took the brand as far as he could and can now walk away with his head held high.
No doubt off for a pint or two of Neck Oil with his dad to celebrate.
Richard Taylor is the founder at Brandon. If you're looking for help with brand design, strategy or innovation, give us a call or send us an email. We'd love to hear from you.
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