Craft Brew Alliance, Inc.  (BREW)
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Craft Brew Alliance, Inc.

Business Description

Craft Brew Alliance, Inc. ("CBA") is the fifth largest craft brewing company in the U.S. and a leader in brewing, branding, and bringing to market some of the world’s best-loved American craft beers.

Craft Brew Alliance was formed in 2008 through the merger of Redhook Brewery and Widmer Brothers Brewing, the two largest craft brewing pioneers in the Northwest at the time. Since then, the Alliance has continued to grow, welcoming Kona Brewing Co. in 2008, and expanding with innovative category leaders and strategic partners. Today, we are home to three of the earliest trail blazers in craft beer: Redhook Ale Brewery, Washington’s largest craft brewery, founded in 1981; Widmer Brothers Brewing, Oregon’s largest craft brewery, founded in 1984; and Kona Brewing Company, Hawaii’s oldest and largest craft brewery, founded in 1994. As part of Craft Brew Alliance, these craft brewing legends have expanded their reach across the U.S. and approximately 30 international markets, while remaining deeply rooted to their local communities.

In addition to growing and nurturing distinctive brands steeped in local heritage, Craft Brew Alliance is committed to developing innovative new category leaders, such as Omission Beer, which is the #1 beer in the gluten-free beer segment, Square Mile Cider, the #1 local hard cider in the Pacific Northwest, and Resignation Brewery’s line of KCCO beers in partnership with theChive.com, which represents the first-ever virtual brewery conceived by an online media platform.

As the craft beer market continues to grow and consumers increasingly demand local offerings, Craft Brew Alliance has expanded its portfolio of brands and maximized its brewing footprint through strategic partnerships with emerging craft beer brands in targeted markets. In 2015, we announced strategic partnerships with Appalachian Mountain Brewery, based in Boone, North Carolina; and Cisco Brewers, based in Nantucket, Massachusetts. Through this strategic partnership model, we gain local relevance in select beer geographies, while the partner breweries gain access to our world-class leadership and national infrastructure to grow their brands.

We proudly brew our craft beers in four company-owned breweries located in Portland, Oregon; the Seattle suburb of Woodinville, Washington; Portsmouth, New Hampshire; and Kailua-Kona, Hawaii; and one brewery in Memphis, Tennessee owned by our brewing partner. Additionally, we own and operate two small innovation breweries, primarily used for small batch production and innovative brews, in Portland, Oregon and Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

We distribute our beers to retailers through wholesalers that are aligned with the Anheuser-Busch, LLC (“A-B”) network. These sales are made pursuant to a Master Distributor Agreement (the “A-B Distributor Agreement”) with A-B. As a result of this distribution arrangement, we believe that, under alcohol beverage laws in a majority of states, these wholesalers would own the exclusive right to distribute our beers in their respective markets if the A-B Distributor Agreement expires or is terminated. Kona, Redhook and Widmer Brothers beers are distributed in all 50 states. Omission Beer continues to expand into new markets in the U.S. and internationally, while Square Mile Cider is currently available in 12 states in the West. Separate from our A-B wholesalers, we maintain an internal independent sales and marketing organization with resources across the key functions of brand management, field marketing, field sales, and national retail sales.

We operate in two segments: Beer Related operations and Pubs operations. Beer Related operations include the brewing, and domestic and international sales, of craft beers and ciders from our breweries. Pubs operations primarily include our five pubs, four of which are located adjacent to our Beer Related operations, as well as other merchandise sales, and sales of our beers directly to customers.

The central elements of our business strategy include:

An innovative complementary portfolio of beers and ciders that reflects changing consumer trends in craft beer and is designed to satisfy a wide range of variety-seeking consumers’ experiences and preferences. The breadth of our product offerings also provides consumers with the opportunity to match specific consumer occasions with a product in our brand families.

Distinct, authentic craft beer brands with rich stories that are rooted in their local communities such as Widmer Brothers, Redhook Brewery, and Kona Brewing Company, as well as bold new trailblazers such as Omission Beer and Square Mile Cider Company, and emerging craft players such as Appalachian Mountain Brewery and Cisco Brewers.

A national brewing footprint that allows us to get our beers to market faster, fresher and more efficiently. We have significant flexibility to fully leverage the specific strengths of our distinct breweries and operations. Additionally, we guarantee the quality and consistency of all of our products through fine-tuned processes that ensure everything, from brewing to quality-assurance to warehousing and distribution, meets our high standards. We believe that maximizing production under our direct supervision and through accomplished and expert partners is critical to our success. Further, we believe that our ability to engage in ongoing product innovation and to control product quality provides critical competitive advantages. Each of our breweries is modern, has flexible production capabilities, and is designed to produce beer in smaller batches relative to the national domestic brewers, thereby allowing us to brew a wide variety of brand offerings. We believe that our investment in brewing and logistics technologies enables us to minimize brewery operating costs and consistently produce innovative beer styles.

Nationwide sales activation through robust partnerships with leading retailers such as Buffalo Wild Wings, Safeway, and Costco. We leverage our national sales and marketing capabilities and complementary brand families to create a unique identity in the distribution channel and with the consumer. Our sales force calls on all retail channels nationally, including grocery, drug and convenience stores, something most other craft brewers are not able to do.

National seamless distribution through the Anheuser-Busch wholesaler network alliance. This distribution footprint provides efficiencies in logistics and product delivery, state reporting and licensing, billing and collections. We have realized these efficiencies while maintaining full autonomy over the production, sale and marketing of our products as an independent craft beer company.

A diverse leadership team with extensive experience in the beer and beverage industries. The team has a proven ability to manage brand lifecycles, from development to turnaround, in both large and growth-company settings.

We own and operate five brew-pub restaurants and retail stores that support consumer awareness and research and development. Our five brew-pub restaurants allow us to interact directly with over 1.5 million consumers annually in our home markets, which creates a sense of brand loyalty. Our brewers are continually experimenting with new and different varieties of hops and malts in all styles of beer, and our brew pubs allow us to bring those beers to market in test-size batches in order to evaluate their strengths prior to releasing them on a wider basis.

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