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Squatters/Wasatch and Fireman Capital Partners announced that the companies have entered into an agreement under which Fireman Capital will make a significant investment in the combined business, including the award-winning Squatters and Wasatch craft brewery and brewpubs. The investment will support further expansion of the Squatters and Wasatch portfolio of craft beers, distribution growth, brand and marketing initiatives, and the continued success and expansion of the complementary brewpub business.
The Squatters and Wasatch brewery is one of the top 50 craft brewers in the country. Founded more than twenty years ago by Utah’s craft brewing pioneers, Squatters and Wasatch are industry leaders and now sell beer in 12 states. Combined, Squatters and Wasatch beers have won 17 World Beer Cup awards, a number surpassed by only two other top-50 U.S. craft brewers and a distinction that highlights the “statement-making” nature of their beer. The investment by Fireman Capital also includes five high volume brewpubs and restaurants in Salt Lake and Park City.
Peter Cole, founding partner of Squatters, said, “This investment opens the door to the next level for Squatters and Wasatch, and provides the financial firepower and expertise we need to meet rapidly growing demand for our beer and to reach new markets. For beer lovers it means greater opportunity to enjoy exceptional craft beer, and a great meal at our brewpubs. Importantly, our core mission of brewing world-class beer – and our steadfast commitment to a healthy community and environment – remains unchanged. Squatters and Wasatch have always been about brewing beers you can believe in, and we look forward to giving more people the chance to taste our brews.”
Greg Schirf, the founder of Wasatch Brewery, will continue to manage brewery operations for the company. Joe Lambert, operating partner for Squatters since 1996, will continue to oversee the restaurant business. Peter Cole, Jeff Polychronis, Joe Lambert and Greg Schirf will all maintain ownership in the combined company.
Schirf said, “We are excited by Fireman Capital’s support of our brands, our beer, and our tremendous business potential. Our brewery has grown rapidly over the years, with recent penetration of large, attractive markets outside Utah. We look forward to our partnership with Fireman Capital Partners and to the resources and expertise they bring to the table.”
Dan Fireman, managing partner of Fireman Capital, said, “We are thrilled to support Joe, Greg, Jeff, Peter and the entire Squatters/Wasatch management team as they continue to grow the business. Built on a combination of outstanding beer, a steadfast commitment to the environment, community, local sourcing and the best ingredients – and set apart by unique, witty and cheerfully subversive branding – Squatters/Wasatch is exactly the kind of successful, market-disrupting company we seek at Fireman Capital. Craft beer is a large, rapidly growing industry where companies offering exceptional products and brands like Squatters and Wasatch enjoy enormous potential. We plan to leverage our financial and deep operational resources to assist in growing the brewery through broadening and solidifying its regional distribution network while continuing to expand the brewpub business.”
Craft brewing is a $1.1 billion industry in the U.S., growing from 3 percent of total beer volume in 1994 to 6 percent today – and is expected to increase to 10 percent of total U.S. beer volume by 2016. Over the past three years, the Squatters/Wasatch brewery has grown rapidly to meet robust demand from both in-state and out of state markets. The brewpub business has enjoyed significant growth and strong profitability as well.
The investment is expected to close shortly pending the completion of customary closing conditions.