Louisiana’s brewer of Abita beer has joined a new craft-beer organization tied to a large California investment firm.
“As a founding partner of Enjoy Beer, Abita will gain the resources and expertise we need for successful long-term growth,” David Blossman, president of Abita Brewing Co., said on the firm’s website.
In response to questions by email, however, Blossman would not say Tuesday whether San Francisco investment firm Friedman Fleischer & Lowe has acquired an ownership interest in Abita Brewing, which is based in Abita Springs and just completed a $30 million expansion.
“Abita’s current owners and I have partnered with Enjoy Beer to pioneer a new model in craft beer,” Blossman said. “Both Abita and Enjoy Beer are privately held companies, and we have never discussed financial details and do not plan to do so now.”
Enjoy Beer Holding Corp. registered in Louisiana on March 27 as a Delaware corporation that listed FFL’s San Francisco address as its principal office. Three of Enjoy Beer’s four listed officers also are executives at FFL. The firm’s president was listed as Richard A. Doyle, also at FFL’s San Francisco address.
Telephone and email requests for comment from FFL were not returned Tuesday.
The firm is generally described as focusing its investments and expert help on U.S. middle-market companies in industries that include health care, financial and business services, and consumer products.
An Abita news release said Enjoy Beer was formed to create partnerships with top craft brewers who wish to preserve their local independence, while gaining shared resources in areas such as distribution, sales, marketing and logistical expertise. It said those resources are necessary to compete with large corporate competitors.
Abita Brewing’s dozens of beers are sold in 41 states, the District of Columbia and some foreign countries. Last year, the company was ranked as the 21st-largest craft brewer in the United States by the Brewers Association. Abita’s expansion more than doubles its annual production capacity to 400,000 barrels of beer.
“Abita’s completed expansion and the new Enjoy Beer partnership lay a strong foundation for the Louisiana-based brewery’s continued growth,” Blossman noted.
“As the craft industry continues to evolve, there is enormous pressure on brewers to compete against the big breweries,” Doyle said in the news release. “In leading Abita, David has always been committed to innovation and finding new opportunities to compete while ensuring the company’s independence and local roots.”
Blossman noted in the news release that Doyle was the co-founder and chief executive officer of Harpoon Brewery in Boston and sold his interest in that brewery to Harpoon employees. An industry veteran with nearly 30 years of experience, Doyle also is a former chairman of the Brewers Association.
“We’re proud to have another craft brewer … one of the founders of Harpoon (Brewery), at our side leading Enjoy Beer,” Blossman said on Abita Brewing’s website Tuesday. “Rich Doyle founded Enjoy Beer and is as passionate about brewing as I am. With Rich leading the way, Enjoy Beer is founded by craft brewers to help craft brewers.”
In his email, Blossman added: “We’re all partners in this exciting venture together. This innovative partnership will provide us with a strategy for long-term growth and give us access to resources in marketing, logistics, distribution and sales that we would not otherwise have.”
“Enjoy Beer will pioneer a new model in the industry, and together, Enjoy Beer and Abita can compete at the next level by expanding the reach of a beloved brand to share the unique culture of New Orleans with the rest of the country,” Doyle said.