Japanese brewer Sapporo Holdings Ltd. has an agreement to acquire Stone Brewing Holdings, Escondido, Calif., the ninth largest U.S. craft brewer and 18th overall in size, for $165 million. Stone, known for its Arrogant Bastard beer, apparently had $250 million in sales last year.
This will be Sapporo’s second U.S. acquisition, the company having bought Anchor Brewing, known for its Anchor Steam beer, for $85 million in 2017. Stone Brewing and its founder Greg Koch have been advocates for small, independent brewers since the company’s founding in 1996.
Stone Brewing will continue to operate its two breweries in California and Virginia and several taprooms and restaurants with the existing management and workforce. One report said Sapporo could increase Stone’s capacity in order to brew Sapporo-branded beers for U.S. distribution. Stone Distributing Co., which handles distribution for 42 craft breweries, is not part of the sale but will be spun off into an independent company.