Lagunitas, Heineken partner

Heineken, as major brewer and marketer of premium beers and ciders, has entered into a partnership with Lagunitas Brewing Co., which has a brewery in Chicago.

Although the partnership is a joint venture, Lagunitas will continue to operate independently in the United States and will continue to be helmed by founder Tony Magee. The company will also retain the same staff, suppliers, recipes and distributors.

The partnership will allow Lagunitas to present its beers to new consumers worldwide; Heineken will be able to get a foothold in the craft brewing business on a global scale.

"This venture will create a way for Lagunitas to help Heineken's global distribution network participate in the growing craft beer category in places from Tierra Del Fuego and Mongolia to the far-flung Isle of Langerhans," Magee said. "Lagunitas will share in the best quality processes in the world and enjoy an open door to opportunities that took lifetimes to build. This alliance with the world's most international brewer represents a profound victory for American craft. It will open doors that had previously been shut and bring the U.S. craft beer vibe to communities all over the world."

Jean-Fran├žois van Boxmeer, CEO of Heineken, agreed.

"We are very excited to partner with Lagunitas," van Boxmeer said. "We recognize and respect the tremendous success of Tony and his team in building one of the great American Craft Beer brands. We look forward to that same team partnering with us to expand Lagunitas globally, so it can reach parts that other craft beer brands have not."

Lagunitas has breweries in Petaluma, California, and Chicago; a third brewery is under construction and is scheduled to open in Azusa, California, in 2017.

The enormously popular California-based brewery and distributor opens its first Chicago location late 2013. At 300,000 square feet and 50-foot ceilings, this former steel mill space will feature a taproom and brewery with plans to start producing beer shortly after opening.

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