Stone Brewing Initiates $100 Million Craft Beer Investment Company

Stone Brewing Co. CEO Greg Koch has announced the formation of True Craft, a $100 million company geared toward investing in smaller craft breweries to help them remain independent.

A statement from Escondido-based Stone Brewing said True Craft will make minority investments in craft brewers while allowing those brewers to retain control of their business and culture. The new venture’s structure is still in formation, with further details to be announced at a later date.

“Some people start companies to sell out. Some start companies because they are compelled to follow their passion. True Craft is for the latter,” said Koch, who co-founded Stone Brewing with company President Steve Wagner in 1996.

Koch said craft beer needs an “alternative model” that can help founders avoid selling off their companies in order to grow and compete.

Officials said True Craft has been in the making for the past 18 months, and Stone Brewing will be participating as a founding member. The new venture has received an initial $100 million from an unnamed investor group.

The U.S. craft beer industry has seen several small- and mid-sized players fully or partially acquired by larger macrobrewers in recent years. During 2015, those included the acquisition of Miramar’s Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits by Constellation Brands Inc., in a $1 billion deal; and the purchase of Miramar’s Saint Archer Brewing Co. by MillerCoors, for an undisclosed price.

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