Paso Robles-based Firestone Walker Brewing Co. announced Thursday that it will combine its company with Duvel Moortgat, a Belgium-based brewery founded in 1871 that has acquired other U.S. craft breweries.
Firestone Walker, which has operated on the Central Coast since 1996, said in a news release that it will continue to "operate independently in Paso Robles under its current leadership of David Walker and Adam Firestone."
No financial information regarding Duvel's investment in Firestone Walker was released Thursday night. The agreement was signed earlier this week, and the transaction is expected to close later this year.
Duvel is expected to help Firestone Walker, the 16th largest craft brewery in the U.S. in beer sales volume, "develop our capacity across the U.S. in a conservative and thoughtful way by consummating a lifelong tie with this family-owned international craft brewer, who continue their commitment to participating in the American Craft Revolution," Firestone Walker co-founders Walker and Firestone said in the news release.
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In a statement posted to its website, Firestone Walker elaborated: "Duvel Moortgat's investment in us is an elegant solution that will enable us to grow within a framework that meets our standards -- all without losing focus on the traits that got us here."
Firestone Walker will be the third U.S.-based craft brewery to combine operations with Duvel. Duvel has owned Cooperstown, N.Y.-based Brewery Ommegang since the early 2000s, and in 2014, the brewery acquired Kansas City, Mo.-based Boulevard Brewing Co.
"The most important thing that we can do for Firestone Walker is to help David and Adam manage the exponential growth that their team and their brewery is experiencing right now by providing financial and production capacity to support them," said Simon Thorpe, president of Duvel Moortgat USA. "We are not integrating our organizations."
A midsized operation that brews more than 150,000 barrels a year, Firestone Walker was established in 1996 in Santa Barbara County and opened in Paso Robles in 2001. It also owns a location in Buellton, which includes a restaurant and bar, as well as Barrelworks, the brewery's barrel-aged and wild ale beer project.
The company is also expanding into the Los Angeles area with a new taproom and experimental brewhouse in Venice that's expected to open this year.