In a trans-Pacific deal, the Tokyo-based Kirin Holdings has purchased a 25% stake in Brooklyn Brewery, a popular New York craft brewer. This partnership is expected to begin the expansion of the brewhouse in markets including Japan and Brazil.
Kirin did not disclose the price it paid for the holding in the brewery, but it could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. A brewery with a similar market share to Brooklyn, Ballast Point, was sold last year for a billion dollars.
Japanese investors have made several similar foreign investments of late — Kirin’s rival, Asahi, bought European brands Peroni and Grolsch earlier in the year.
Kirin really tapped into the beer market by getting a slice of Brooklyn Brewery, which has been brewing in Williamsburg, Brooklyn since the 1980s, at a time when craft beer is immensely popular. Craft brewers currently provide about 424,000 jobs in the U.S. alone.
Brooklyn Brewery is also doing very well financially, as the twelfth largest U.S. craft-beer maker in the U.S.. Production rose by 25,000 barrels last year, reaching 277,000 barrels in total, according to Beer Marketer’s Insights.
Kirin has stated that there will be no changes in leadership at the Brewery, and that the two companies plan on starting a joint venture in Japan early next year. There are also plans in the works to expand the brand into Brazil and tap into the restaurant business.
Kirin’s decision to jump onto the American beer bandwagon may be because of tensions in the market at home. “Japan is in a situation where the big four beer companies are in a war of attrition,” said Kirin’s president of Kirin Brewery Co Takayuki Fuse. “Craft beer is offering a solution to that. We would like to add more value to craft beer.”