Kirin Said To Buy Stake in Brooklyn Brewery In Craft Beer Chase
Kirin Holdings Co. will acquire a more than 20 percent stake in a Brooklyn craft beer company, jumping on the specialty lager trend that’s fast-growing in the U.S. and Japan, according to a person with knowledge of the talks.
Kirin is set to announce the deal with New York-based Brooklyn Brewery Wednesday in Tokyo, according to the person, who asked not to be identified as the information isn’t public. The deal could be worth a couple billion yen, the Nikkei news agency reported earlier.
Kirin spokeswoman Yuko Kusano declined to comment. Brooklyn Brewery could not be immediately reached for comment outside of office hours.
Kirin and other Japanese breweries have been experimenting with specialty brews as craft beer gains popularity in Japan. It’s one of the few brights spots for the beer industry in Japan, where a declining population has seen consumption slump since 2001. Kirin is competing against some of the world’s largest breweries to expand overseas, including a possible stake in Vietnam’s top brewer.
Privately-held Brooklyn Brewery, based in the New York borough whose name it bears, is the 12th-largest craft lager maker based on 2015 beer sales volume, according to the Brewers Association. Craft breweries produced 24.5 million barrels of beer last year and posted $22.3 billion in retail sales, a 16 percent increase from a year earlier.
The Brooklyn Brewery deal would follow Kirin’s purchase of a 33 percent stake in Japanese craft label Yo-Ho Brewing Co. in 2014. To draw patrons of specialty beers, Kirin opened two brewpubs last year where beer is brewed on site.
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