Published in Food/Agribusiness
Atwater Brewery owner Mark Rieth Atwater Brewery owner Mark Rieth MIBIZ FILE PHOTO: Glenn Triest

Atwater Brewery acquired by division of MolsonCoors

BY Wednesday, January 22, 2020 12:21pm

GRAND RAPIDS — Atwater Brewery, a Detroit-based brewery with a satellite taproom in Grand Rapids, has been acquired by Chicago-based Molson Coors Beverage Co., one of the largest international brewing conglomerates. 

As part of the deal, Atwater will join Tenth and Blake Beer Co. division of Molson Coors (NYSE: TAP), which owns and operates a range of craft breweries across the country, including San Diego, Calif.-based Saint Archer Brewing Co. and Athens, Ga.-based Terrapin Beer Co., among others.

Atwater owner Mark Rieth, who invested in the company in 2002 and acquired the entire operation in 2005, said in a statement that Tenth and Blake was “an ideal strategic partner” for the Michigan-based brewery. 

“The agreement with Tenth and Blake is both the culmination of our past and the catapult to our

future,” Rieth said in a statement. “For Atwater to continue to grow, it will require both capital and brewing expertise. Tenth and Blake brings both …”

Atwater is the fourth-largest brewery in Michigan, as ranked by in-state sales of beer. According to Michigan Liquor Control Commission data, the company sold 22,481 barrels of beer in Michigan in 2018, the most recent full year available. 

 is known for its Dirty Blonde and Vanilla Java brands, as well as for producing a range of traditional-style European lagers. The company last year unveiled a line of hard seltzers last year, and also produces spirits. It operates taprooms in Detroit, Grosse Pointe Park and Grand Rapids, which opened a 6,000-square-foot bar and restaurant in the ground-floor level of the Rowe Building in 2017. 

Tenth and Blake VP Paul Verdu called Atwater “a staple and a leader in the Michigan craft community for more than two decades.” 

“Our priority is to make sure their beer is enjoyed by consumers throughout their core markets and eventually across the Great Lakes region,” Verdu said in a statement. 

Terms of the deal, which requires various regulatory approvals, were not disclosed. The parties expect the deal to close “in the next couple of months,” with Rieth and the management team continuing to lead the brewery’s operations. 

Atwater was advised on the deal by Arlington Capital Advisors.

The deal marks the fourth transaction involving a Michigan craft beverage producer and an international brewing conglomerate. In 2014, Grand Rapids-based Founders Brewing Co. sold a 30-percent stake to Spain-based Mahou-San Miguel Group, which last year upped its position in the company to 90 percent, as MiBiz was first to report. Anheuser-Busch InBev in 2015 acquired a majority stake in Fennville-based Virtue Cider, and two years later acquired the remainder of the company. As well, Bellaire-based Short’s Brewing Co. in 2017 sold a 20-percent stake to Heineken-owned Lagunitas Brewing Co.

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