image courtesy of the Craft Brewers Alliance, Inc. Portland, OR - Announced in Portland today, the folks that give you Widmer Hefeweizen (among others), Redhook ESB (among others), Goose Island, and Kona Pipeline Porter, are announcing a merger. Starting today, Kona Brewing Co. will merge with the Craft Brewers Alliance to become a subsidiary of the CBA. After nine years of an established partnership this seems to make sense.

“We are thrilled to welcome Kona Brewing fully into the Craft Brewers Alliance family,” said Terry Michaelson, CEO of CBA. “Over the past nine years, we have worked alongside Kona to help build the brand in Hawaii and on the mainland, and we have been continuously impressed by the quality of Kona's hand-crafted beers and their reflection of Hawaii’s heritage and culture. We look forward to new opportunities to grow the Kona brand.”

CBA is an independent, publicly traded craft brewing company with a history of partnering with authentic beer brands including Widmer Brothers, Redhook and Goose Island. The merger will assist Kona by providing the financial, marketing and distribution capabilities that it needs to share its “Liquid Aloha” with more consumers in Hawaii and the U.S. mainland.

“We’re excited about unlocking the full potential of Kona’s unique brews, and Craft Brewers Alliance has been a real advocate for our brand and our story,” said Mattson Davis, president and Chief Executive Officer of Kona. “This strengthened commitment to our partnership has been nine years in the making and provides us with the resources and expertise to take our operations to the next level.  CBA has always respected and shown appreciation for our tradition, culture and passion for brewing exceptional beers in Kailua-Kona on Hawaii’s Big Island.” -source, Terry Michaelson (CEO of the Craft Brewers Alliance) and Mattison Davis Pres. and CEO of Kona Brewing Co.

image courtesy of Kona Brewing Co.After the merger is complete Mattison Davis will remain CEO / Pres. of Kona while working closely with Terry Michaelson, to grow the Kona brand. Additionally, current owners of Kona Brewing Co. will each receive equity in the combine entity.

Those concerned regarding the quality of the beer being altered can rest easy. There are no current plans to migrate Rich Tucciarione from his post as Brewmaster at Kona. Additionally, despite most of the CBA members being based in lower 48 states (Chicago, Oregon, and Washington), Kona operations will not move to be closer to the other three breweries.

This step was taken to insure that the established relationship that Kona has with the local community (i.e. Kona Brewers Festival), remains strong. Furthermore, with this new relationship with CBA, Kona can continue to focus on minimizing their negative eco-footprint, by minimizing waste, focus on renewable energy programs (like solar), and enlist the help of local farmers, instead of having supplies shipped from outside Hawaii.

We look foreword to see what comes of this merger in the coming years, as the Craft Brewers Alliance continues to grow.

About Kona Brewing Co.

Kona Brewing Co. was started in the spring of 1994 by a father and son team that had a dream to create fresh, local island brews made with spirit, passion and quality. It is a Hawaii-born and Hawaii-based craft brewery that prides itself on brewing the freshest beer of exceptional quality, closest to market. The company is headquartered where it began, in Kailua-Kona on Hawaii’s Big Island. It has grown into Hawaii’s largest brewery, has three restaurant sites in Hawaii and beer distribution reaching 28 states and Japan. The brewery was named the fastest growing top-50 craft brewing company in the country based on 2008 sales figures. It posted 19.8 percent year-over-year growth in 2009 and is now the 13th largest craft brewer in the U.S. For more information call 808-334-BREW or visit www.KonaBrewingCo.com.

About Craft Brewers Alliance

Craft Brewers Alliance operates the Widmer Brothers brewery in Portland, Ore., and Redhook breweries in Woodinville, Wash., and Portsmouth, N.H. The company distributes its award-winning brews and those of Kona and Goose Island throughout the U.S. via a network of wholesale distributors. Redhook, at the forefront of the domestic craft brewing segment since its formation in 1981, is widely recognized for brewing excellence at domestic and international brewing competitions. Widmer Brothers, founded by brothers Kurt and Rob Widmer in 1984, was among the first to introduce U.S. consumers to the American wheat beer style largely through the popularity of its award-winning flagship beer, Widmer Hefeweizen, an unfiltered wheat beer typically served with a lemon. For more information, visit www.craftbrewers.com.

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