Last month, Northern Brewer/Midwest Supplies, Minnesota-based mega homebrew shops, were acquired by ZX Ventures, a venture capital firm backed by AB InBev. ZX Ventures is self-described as “global disruptive growth group, incubator, and venture capital team.”
I’ll say. They just somehow figured out how to buy-out homebrewers, the ultimate grassroots innovators of craft beer in the United States. Bravo by them.
This hits pretty close to home for me. I bought many of my early homebrew kits from Northern Brewer, and continued to buy equipment and ingredients from them from time to time over the past few years when I just wanted something dropped off at my door.
They have EVERYTHING a homebrewer could want. Their customer service is great. And they’re just cool. I can see why it was attractive for XYZ-AB to buy them.
While I appreciate the sentiment, when I read the statement from Chris Farley, Northern Brewer’s founder, about the acquisition, it sounded like every other statement put together by a corporate PR department, about how nothing will fundamentally change and they’ll still be independent.
That may be true to an extent as long as things are going well in the minds of the investors. As anyone who has ever accepted investment or taken out a loan, once you take that money you’re no longer the boss. I just wish one time, an executive would come out and say, “They made us a great offer and we had to take it. It’s a lot of money.”
Since I would like to be helpful to my future fellow brewery owners, in an effort to help breweries, brewpubs and homebrew shops save some time and money when they’re acquired, I went ahead and wrote a boilerplate press release they are welcome to use, Mad Libs-style:
Today, we at ______ are ______ to announce our acquisition and partnership with _______. This is a ______ moment in our company’s history, and we could not be more______ and ______ for all our employees that have helped us reach this moment after so many years of _________. We are so ______ at the prospects for future ________.
“Our new relationship with _______ will create _______ that will allow us to ______ and pursue _______ to better serve our customers with greater ________ and increased _______,” said ______, ________’s founder and president.
_______’s management team will remain in place and we will continue to be a ________ operation. Rest assured that our ______ and ______ will stay intact as we go forth.
________, CEO of ________ called the merger “______.”
We are confident that this merger is a ______/_______ for both our customers and our company. We thank all of our past customers for their _______, and we look forward to ________ing them for years to come.