People in Kansas City may not be too thrilled about it, but the pending sale of Boulevard Brewing company to Belgian beer maker Duvel Moortgat says a lot about how the American craft beer industry has grown up and gone global.
Kansas Citians are proud of lots of things, their barbeque, the Chiefs, Sporting Kansas City, even lately, the Royals, and most beer lovers in this town would add Boulevard Brewing to that list.
“I think Boulevard is, is one with Kansas City,” says Bob Ellis, standing in line for a Boulevard Tank 7, at the Bier Station, in Kansas City.
Boulevard Brewery grew from humble beginnings to be ranked 12th in the nation for craft beer companies. The Kansas City favorite announced October 17 that it had been sold to a 142-year old Belgian company called Duvel Moortgat Brewery.
When Boulevard Brewery founder John McDonald started his micro-brewery 24 years ago, he wasn't even thinking of an exit plan. His original business plan included 7,000 barrels per year and seven employees. He now produces 190,000 barrels and has 125 employees.
The owner of Kansas City’s Boulevard Brewing Company has sold a majority stake in the business to a Belgian brewery. Still John McDonald, Boulevard’s founder, says the deal with Duvel Moortgat will only allow the brewery to accelerate its Kansas City expansion.
Charting a new path
John McDonald just turned 60, and that got him thinking about stepping back from the beer business. He began looking for partners.
McDonald has sold the majority interest in the company to Belgian brewery Duvel Moortagat.
McDonald started Boulevard in 1989 and brought the company to national acclaim. McDonald told the Kansas City Business journal that he turned 60 this year and needed to figure out what he was going to do with the brewery.
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Kansas City's Boulevard Brewery is no longer making beers with twist-off caps, reports Brad at the KC Beer Blog. Now all the beers produced by the Midwest’s largest specialty brewer will be capped with more effective, less hand-friendly pry-off tops.