Petaluma – Lagunitas Brewing Company

The Lagunitas Brewing Company, founded in 1993 in Lagunitas, California, is a subsidiary of Heineken International. Before Heineken bought a 50% share of the company in 2015, the company met the definition of a craft brewery. Two years prior it ranked fifth top-selling craft brewery in the US. Heineken purchased the remainder of the company in 2017.

The brewery was founded in 1993 by Tony Magee in Lagunitas, California, and moved a year later to nearby Petaluma, California, after they quickly outgrew their original rural West Marin location. Before being taken over by Heineken, Lagunitas was one of the fastest-growing craft breweries in the United States. Production increased from 27,000 US bbl (32,000 hL) in 2004 to 106,000 US bbl (124,000 hL) in 2010. In March 2011, the company had 92 employees with distribution in 32 states. The brewery announced a $9.5 million expansion slated to begin early 2012 which increased its brewing capacity to 600,000 US bbl (700,000 hL).

On April 9, 2012, Lagunitas announced plans for a new Chicago-based brewery equipped with a 250 barrel brew house which will also have a 600,000 US bbl (700,000 hL) capacity. In May 2012 it was announced that the company had signed a lease for a location in the city’s Douglas Park neighborhood in North Lawndale, “that will put [it] in a space owned by film studio Cinespace…for at least 20 years.” The Chicago brewery started producing beer on April 18, 2014, and opened an on-premises taproom a few months thereafter. A third brewery was planned to be built in Azusa, California, however the brewery has not become operational as the result of a slowdown in growth.

In December 2014 Lagunitas filed a lawsuit against Sierra Nevada Brewing Company over the use and style of the letters IPA on their label. The lawsuit was dropped a month later after public outcry. On September 8, 2015, Heineken International acquired a 50% stake in the company to help it expand its operations globally. As a result of the deal, Lagunitas was no longer considered a craft brewery under the Brewers Association definition of “craft”, since Heineken’s stake was greater than 25%. Less than two years later, on May 4, 2017, Heineken purchased the remaining portion of Lagunitas, making it the sole owner of the brewery. Founder Tony Magee continued as CEO of Lagunitas, with the intention of expanding production and distribution of Lagunitas beers worldwide.

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