Lagunita to aid nanobreweries?

Founder Tony Magee in this morning’s Beer Business Daily, talking about a startling new concept he has to benefit smaller brewers:

…[T]here will be crunches,” says Tony — barley and hop crunches in particular.  Lagunitas has made it a priority to build direct relationships with barley and hop farmers to ensure consistent supply, and to also give the farmers stability in their business.  “We’re buying barley before it’s being seeded in the spring….Within our model it’s been de-commoditized. I don’t think the dealers have the best interest of the brewers in mind…..they live on crises.  Many small brewers won’t get the flavor hops” they need for their beers. If you’re a small brewer, it’s hard to get the attention of the farmers, “not because they’re big but because they’re small, and they don’t have front offices.”  But Tony may have mutually beneficial solution for these small brewers.

Lagunitas is in the process considering partnerships with budding nano-brewers around the country.  Tony insists it’s his “job to be local” but instead of “investing in a … facebook site” or doing some other “disrespectful” thing, Lagunitas intends to invest $50 to $100 grand to take non-controlling stakes in nano-brewers, and “they can lean on us and we’ll provide access to certain things like barley, hops, or a lab.”  In return “they could pour one tap of Lagunitas for every ten of theirs.” It’s an interesting concept, giving Lagunitas a line of sight into local communities while giving small breweries a leg up.

Discuss. Be prepared to show your work.

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