The Coast News Group
Sculpin IPA (India Pale Ale) is Ballast Point’s best selling craft beer and comes in three formats. Image courtesy Ballast Point
Sculpin IPA. Image courtesy Ballast Point

Illinois craft brewery buys Ballast Point

Ballast Point Brewing is a craft brewery again. On Dec. 3 it was announced that Highland, Illinois, independent craft brewery Kings & Convicts purchased Ballast Point from Constellation Brands.

Ballast Point Brewing was originally founded in 1996 and was a crucial player in the growth of craft beer in San Diego, training a huge number of people who work in the industry today and helping to cement San Diego’s reputation for excellence in craft beer.

It was a shock and disappointment to many craft fans when, in 2015, Ballast Point sold to Constellation Brands (owners of Corona, Modelo and Pacifico, in addition to a vast portfolio of other wine, beer and spirits brands). According to the definition of a “craft brewery” established by the national trade group, the Brewers Association, that meant that Ballast Point was no longer a craft brewery but “big beer.”

While financial details of the acquisition have not been made public, it is a near certainty that Constellation took a loss: They purchased Ballast Point for an unheard-of $1 billion in 2015, and while Ballast Point currently produces about 200,000 barrels per year, it is highly unlikely the purchase price was anything close to $1 billion.

According to a press release, Kings & Convicts will retain all positions within Ballast Point’s existing workforce, which is comprised of approximately 560 employees. The company will continue to utilize Ballast Point’s current U.S. distribution network and plans to hire a sales and marketing workforce to support long-term growth in all 50 states. The acquisition includes all the Ballast Point locations in California (Miramar, Little Italy, Linda Vista, Anaheim, Long Beach) plus the new brewpub in Chicago.