MillerCoors takes majority stake in Athens' Terrapin Beer Co.

In what is sure to be the biggest and most controversial news in Georgia craft beer history, MillerCoors has struck a deal to take a majority stake in Terrapin Beer Co., the popular Athens craft brewery.

Terrapin was founded in 2002 by Brian "Spike" Buckowski and John Cochran. The partners  sold a minority interest in the company to MillerCoors’ craft brewing division, Tenth and Blake Beer Co., in 2012. There had been rumors of negotiations for MillerCoors to acquire a larger share, since.

Last year MillerCoors/Tenth and Blake took a majority stake in San Diego craft brewery Saint Archer Brewing Co. Tenth and Blake also owns Blue Moon Brewing Co. in Denver, Colo., Colfax, Calif.-based Crispin Cider Co., and Leinenkugel Brewing Co. in Chippewa Falls, Wis., as well as several import brands, including Pilsner Urquel.

Here’s today’s complete press release from Tenth and Blake:

CHICAGO (July 20, 2016) – Tenth and Blake Beer Company, the craft and import division of MillerCoors, announced today an agreement to acquire a majority interest in Athens, Georgia-based Terrapin Beer Company. Tenth and Blake had previously purchased a minority interest in Terrapin in early 2012.

“Bringing Tenth and Blake on years ago allowed us to get to know each other better and realize the incredible potential of becoming a majority-owned partner with Tenth and Blake and MillerCoors,” said Brian “Spike” Buckowski, Terrapin Beer Company co-founder and vice president of brewing development. “With Tenth and Blake’s dedication to helping us grow and their passion for creating high-quality craft beers, we knew it would be the perfect partnership. We look forward to continuing to create innovative beers to share with beer lovers nationwide.” 

Terrapin founders Buckowski and John Cochran set out in 2002 to craft beers unlike any that were available in the Southeast at the time, choosing Athens as home base because of its distinctive culture and shared appreciation for music. The 84,000-square-foot brewery and 100-barrel brew house creates year-round and seasonal beers including Hopsecutioner, 
HI-5, RecreationAle, and Rye Pale Ale.

Terrapin Beer Company will operate as a business unit of Tenth and Blake. Terrapin’s management and team will continue to create, brew, package, ship and sell Terrapin’s acclaimed portfolio of brands.

“The team at Terrapin is so passionate and committed to brewing such terrific beers that we are thrilled to welcome them deeper into the Tenth and Blake family,” said Scott Whitley, president and CEO of Tenth and Blake. “As owners, our job is to work collaboratively with their team to support their continued success with their innovative, award-winning beers that complement our portfolio perfectly.”

Terrapin Beer Company joins other leading crafts in the Tenth and Blake portfolio, including Blue Moon Brewing Company, Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company and Saint Archer Brewing Company. For more information on Terrapin Beer Company and its portfolio of brands, visit

The transaction is expected to complete in August 2016. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. First Beverage Group acted as financial advisor to Terrapin, and Spencer Fane LLP provided legal counsel. King & Spalding LLP provided legal counsel to MillerCoors.

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