This morning, the jointly-owned and -operated Seattle Cider Company and Two Beers Brewing announced an acquisition by French farmer-run cooperative Agrial. The resulting merger is intended to provide the Seattle companies with the capital needed for continued growth, and founder and CEO Joel VandenBrink promises that nothing will change, at least as far as customers’ experiences with the beer and cider are concerned.
"The merger and further partnership will help Seattle Cider Company and Two Beers Brewing grow through Agrial’s international distribution network, gaining access to developing craft beer and cider communities around the world," a press release says. "It will also allow for needed capital expansion projects for the growing brewery and the cidery. Additionally, the partnership provides Agrial with the opportunity to gain access to the American craft cider and beer market, as well as distribute a selection of its French cidre brand, Louis Raison, to the US."
In a letter posted on Two Beers’ website, VandenBrink details the launch of the brewery in his 600-square-foot apartment more than ten years ago. Since, the company has grown considerably, and the cidery was added in 2013. Both businesses have expanded their production capacity several times over the years, and distribution now reaches several U.S. states as well as international markets. The merger will allow Two Beers and Seattle Cider to further expand distribution in Europe, Asia, and Africa, while Agrial will be able to import its products into the United States.
VandenBrink promises in his letter that the quality of his products will remain unchanged. He also says he will maintain his role as CEO and there will be no change in staff in Seattle. "Our products and our distributors will stay exactly the same and our dedication to Seattle and beyond can only increase with the strength of such a strong partner alongside us," he writes.
Brewery mergers and acquisitions are not entirely uncharted waters for Seattle’s beer scene. In June, Odin Brewing bought Hilliard’s Beer, and last year, AB InBev (the beer giant that includes Anheuser-Busch) purchased Seattle's Elysian Brewing.
So far, via Facebook at least, the response to the Two Beers and Seattle Cider Co news seems positive, with plenty of people offering their congratulations. That's quite different from the vitriolic outpouring that followed the Elysian news, when plenty of critics said stuff like this: