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Food

Ballast Point Brewery Will Be Sold For $1 Billion To N.Y. Beverage Giant

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What's on tap next for Ballast Point (via Facebook)
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Ballast Point, San Diego's largest craft brewery, looks to be the latest brewer to be swooped up by a massive beverage company—and they're going for a pretty penny.

New York-based beverage conglomerate Constellation Brands will spend roughly $1 billion dollars to acquire the craft beer pioneer Ballast Point, reports the L.A. Times. The brewery, perhaps best known for their Sculpin IPA, will soon join the ranks of the more than 100 brands in Constellation's portfolio, which also includes California's Robert Mondavi wines, Swedish vodka Svedka and Mexico's Corona, Modelo, Pacifico and Victoria beers.

The huge price tag for the brewery—which started as a home-brew supply store in 1992—is creating serious buzz in the beer world, which has recently seen other craft brewers swooped up by much larger companies, including Anheuser-Busch's purchase of Golden Road Brewing, MillerCoors stepping in as a majority stakeholder in San Diego's Saint Archer and and Heineken taking a 50% stake in Petaluma's Lagunitas Brewing Co.

"It's hard to digest," Bart Watson, chief economist for the national Brewers Assn., tells the Times about Ballast Point's big price tag. "But it shows where the growth is heading. They're willing to pay a high price because they believe they will see continued growth and a return on investment."

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Ballast has definitely come a long way from when founder Jack White was brewing beer in his UCLA apartment with college roommate Pete A’Hearn. According to the Times, the company's beer barrel shipments will more than double in 2015, from about 123,000 last year. And their revenue of $50 million from 2014 is expected to double as well. Overall, Constellation Brands has had an astronomical (pun intended) annual growth of 80 percent over the last two years, according toKPCC. So, it may come as little surprise that they attracted the attention of an industry big wig like Constellation. The Times also points out that while alcohol sales by the industry's giants have leveled off lately, craft beer shipments increased by 18 percent last year.

While many craft beer drinkers will surely speculate what the sale will mean for the future of the craft beer's taste and brand, White tells the San Diego Union Tribune that Ballast Point beer will be no different with the sale. He assures that there won't be any changes to the brewing or management team. "That's what they are investing in, they want to make sure it's me and my team doing what we do best," White explains. "It will be the same people making the same beer, with the same culture and approach."