Craft Brew Alliance to Form ‘Strategic Partnership’ with Appalachian Mountain Brewery

Portland, Ore. (Dec. 2, 2014) – Craft Brew Alliance, Inc. (“CBA”) (Nasdaq: BREW), an independent craft brewing company, today announced it has signed a Letter of Intent (the “Letter”) to form a strategic partnership with Boone, NC-based Appalachian Mountain Brewery, Inc. (“AMB”) (OTC: HOPS). Under the terms of the Letter, the two publicly traded companies will explore potential opportunities to drive business growth and shareholder value through sharing resources in key strategic areas including, but not limited to, brewing, purchasing, distribution, and sales. The prospective partnership also gives AMB’s employees access to CBA’s thought leadership, technical resources and 30+ years of experience in brewing, branding and bringing to market world-class American craft beers.

CBA and AMB share several similarities that reinforce the strategic alignment and cultural fit between both companies, including distinctive and identifiable brands that are rooted in real local heritage and a strong belief in the importance of community, philanthropy and sustainability. CBA’s portfolio of brands includes three of the industry’s pioneering craft brewing companies, Widmer Brothers Brewing, Kona Brewing and Redhook Brewery. All three companies are well known for their community involvement and commitment to environmental sustainability – from Widmer Brothers’ industry-leading water conservation efforts to Kona Brewing’s innovative use of solar power to supply its energy needs. Similarly, Appalachian Mountain Brewery oversees multiple programs focused on enriching its local communities, including its Pints for Non-Profits program and “We Can So You Can” initiative, which donates proceeds from every 16 oz. can sale towards the revitalization of mountains and rivers throughout the Appalachian Mountain Chain.

“This kind of partnership aligns perfectly with what we’re building CBA to do: help bring authentic craft beers and brands to beer lovers from coast to coast. As we look to the future, we’re excited to broaden the alliance with real brands that are steeped in place and legacy and nurture their ability to serve today’s increasing demand for great-tasting, local craft beers in emerging markets like North Carolina and the Southeast,” said Andy Thomas, chief executive officer, Craft Brew Alliance. “Sean and the entire team at AMB have already begun to build an amazing company, known just as much for its innovative award-winning beers and ciders as its leadership in sustainability and community involvement. We are thrilled to support their ongoing innovation and look forward to exploring opportunities to share CBA’s knowledge and resources, not to mention enjoy some great beers with a genuinely wonderful and talented group of people.”

2014-boston-startup-challengeIn May 2014, Appalachian Mountain Brewery won the Start-Up Brewery Challenge at the Brewbound Session in Boston. CBA is a three-time sponsor of the contest, in which craft brewery owners have three minutes to present their business models and pour one beer that receives immediate feedback from an expert panel of judges. Following the Challenge, the two companies had an opportunity to work together on a collaboration beer. It was during this experience that the companies discovered a strong cultural similarity and mutual interest in exploring a longer-term partnership that would align with both companies’ values and business objectives.

“Since AMB was founded, we have been consciously committed to finding ways to sustainably brew high-quality beer and give back to our communities in the Appalachian Mountains so that future generations can prosper and enjoy these great resources that we’re borrowing from them,” said Sean Spiegelman, chief executive officer, Appalachian Mountain Brewery, Inc. “I can think of no better path forward for our company than to create a strategic partnership with a respected leader like CBA. We are extremely excited to look at how AMB can leverage their technical expertise and extensive experience helping brands grow while maintaining their focus on local community, philanthropy and the environment. We’re also looking forward to brewing a collaboration on both coasts in a much larger format so that more of our consumers can enjoy the outstanding craft beer.”

Appalachian Mountain Brewery has recently begun canning on its Cask Semi-Automated Canning System, supporting AMB’s objectives to expand distribution of three of its beer styles in cans throughout North Carolina. The company is initially focused on canning its flagships, Long Leaf IPA, Blonde Ale and Porter. Added Spiegelman, “Can packaging is a turning point in our history as a small scale brewery. We will look back at 2014 as the year that put us on the craft beer map.”