Paso Robles’ Firestone Walker Brewing Company began embracing Belgian influence in 2013 when it opened a secondary location for aged beers paying homage to Belgian brewing traditions.
Now, the brewery itself is becoming part Belgian; Duvel Moortgat, a Belgian brewing company, has acquired the brewery, though Firestone Walker will still retain independent brewery operations.
“Duvel’s investment in us is an elegant solution that will enable us to grow within a framework that meets our standards—all without losing focus on the traits that got us here,” said David Walker and Adam Firestone, the founders of Firestone Walker.
While Firestone Walker is the 16th largest craft brewery in the United States, 80 percent of its beers are consumed in the state of California. The move, said the Firestone Walker founders, is the solution they’ve been looking for to grow outside of California while still maintaining quality.
Duvel, which has a U.S. headquarters in Cooperstown, NY, has already made big investments into the American craft beer scene. In 2003 Duvel acquired Brewery Ommegang of Cooperstown, NY, and in 2013 it acquired Boulevard Brewing Company of Kansas City, Mo. Both brands are distributed across the country.
Duvel also distributes its own Duvel-branded beers, as well as its Belgian subsidiaries like Brasserie D’Achouffe and Liefman’s, across the U.S.
Duvel, which was founded in Belgium in 1871, distributes beers to 40 different countries around the world. In 2011, Duvel reported an operating income of 171 million euro. The company is private.
– Bo McMillan