MillerCoors assimilates brands and equipment of Michigan Brewing

MillerCoors assimilates brands and equipment of Michigan Brewing
A friend of mine poses by some old kettles at Michigan Brewing's original Webberville location, when we dropped by in 2003.

The brands and brewing equipment for Michigan Brewing Company, which was liquidated at auction on June 21, were purchased by MillerCoors.

MBC was evicted from its Webberville, MI premises in April when it couldn't meet its debt obligations. Most of the buyers were not known at the time of the sale. But last week, MillerCoors spokesman Peter Marino, released this statement through the BeerPulse news site:

“We bought some of the assets of the Michigan Brewing Company at auction with the primary intention of acquiring their brewery equipment, which is in excellent condition. Given the rapid expansion of a number of Tenth and Blake brands, we decided an asset purchase would provide us with added small batch flexibility moving forward. We haven’t decided what, if anything, we might do with the brands at this point. It’s important to note, we do not own the brewing facility, just the equipment and the brand trademarks.”

The purchase also did not include the Celis brands, which were sold separately to CraftBev, an Austin, TX startup brewer with ties to the Celis family. Previously, Kid Rock had announced he was seeking a new brewing partner for his Badass American Lager.

So what MillerCoors does have is the brewing equipment itself, which had an estimated capacity of 50,000 barrels per year. They also own MBC's brands, including Michigan Nut Brown Ale, Mackinac Pale Ale, High Seas India Pale Ale and Screamin' Pumpkin Spiced Ale.

Tenth and Blake is the "craft and import beer" division of the MillerCoors combine, which manages its smaller brands like Lienenkugel, Blue Moon, and its overseas import brands like Pilsner Urquell, Peroni and Grolsch. The likelihood is that MillerCoors might parcel the equipment out to its smaller properties, possibly reactivate the MBC brands at a new site, or renegotiate a lease at their current location.

MillerCoors is a joint operating venture, combining the American operations of conglomerates SABMiller and Molson Coors brewing Company, and headquartered in Chicago.

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  • At least you confirmed that Leinenkugel is Miller. Although they try to cover it up, I figured that was the only way they got the rights to advertise on Sox broadcasts.

    The small brewers being swallowed up or going bankrupt isn't new; the only surprise might be that whoever owns Pabst brands (which, Miller also won't tell you, has won most of the World Beer Cups, even though they advertise that Miller won 4) didn't pick up this one.

    But, unfortunately, pretty soon everything is going to be InBev or SAB.

  • Pabst Brewing is its own entity, and by some ways of looking at it, the nation's fourth largest beer company. I say "some ways" because Pabst does no brewing at all. Their only assets are the trademarks to brands they've bought: Old Style, Stroh's, Schlitz, Falstaff, etc. Most of their brands are contract-brewed at various Miller plants.

  • For every big brewer that gets closed down, there are a dozen brewpubs and nanos popping up. Be sure to check some out!

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