(Reuters) — Dutch brewing company Heineken NV (HEIN.AS) has bought a 50 percent stake in U.S.-based beer maker Lagunitas Brewing Co to expand into the craft beer industry.
Lagunitas, whose brands include the popular India pale ale Lagunitas IPA and pale wheat ale Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’, is one of the best-known and fastest-growing craft beer makers in the United States.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Dealmaking in the craft brewing sector has increased as companies seek to capture the frothy valuations that have accompanied the industry’s boom.
In 2014, barrel volumes in the $19.6 billion craft beer industry rose 18 percent, according to the Brewers Association. By comparison, Lagunitas’ barrel volumes jumped 50 percent in the same year.
Earlier this year, California craft brewery Firestone Walker Brewing Company announced its merger with Flemish-family owned brewery Duvel Moortgat.
Private equity firm Fireman Capital Partners purchased a majority stake in Oskar Blues Brewery, maker of Dale’s Pale Ale, in May.
Last year, Pabst Brewing company was acquired by Blue Ribbon Intermediate Holdings, a partnership between beer entrepreneur Eugene Kashper and private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners.
Heineken said Lagunitas will continue to be led by Tony Magee, its founder and executive chairman, and operate as an independent entity.