Looks like AB InBev has sold Northern Brewer

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OG-wan Kenobi

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ROSEVILLE, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--An affiliate of Blackstreet Capital Holdings, LLC (“BCH”) has acquired Northern Brewer, LLC from ZX Ventures, the global growth and innovation group of Anheuser-Busch InBev. Founded in 1993, Northern Brewer is the leading online retailer of homebrewing and winemaking kits and equipment in the country. BCH is led by Murry Gunty, its Founder and Chief Executive Officer.

“BCH can provide capital solutions for all types of businesses”

“This transaction brings Northern Brewer back to its roots as an independent supplier of high-quality kits, ingredients, and equipment,” said Murry Gunty, CEO of BCH. “We are excited to partner with Northern Brewer and to continue its tradition of serving the craft beer industry since 1993.”

“BCH can provide capital solutions for all types of businesses,” said Kevin Kuby, Executive Vice President of BCH, and interim CEO of Northern Brewer. “We can move exceptionally fast to understand the situation and pride ourselves in completing complicated carveouts. We are focused on helping the underlying business grow over the long-term.”

Transaction details are not being disclosed.

About Blackstreet Capital Holdings, LLC

Blackstreet Capital Holdings, LLC is a Bethesda, MD-based diversified holding company run by Founder and CEO Murry Gunty. BCH seeks investments in the debt and equity of lower middle market businesses, corporate orphans in out-of-favor industries, and businesses undergoing some form of transition. BCH invests in a range of industries, including e-commerce, business services, manufacturing, distribution, franchisors, retail, education, sports and entertainment, and consumer finance. For more information, visit www.blackstreethold.com.




I know a lot of people did not want to do business with them because of that relationship so I figured I would share this
 

IslandLizard

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<Ugh>
A more compelling reason than ever to support your local mom and pop's type LHBS.

Don't give capitalists your hard earned money, they've got plenty already while raking in wherever they can at staggering rates.
</ugh>
 

MaxStout

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Northern sent me an email a few days ago, prompting me to do some survey. I haven't bought from them (or Midwest) in at least a couple years, but I'm still on their list. Likely the marketing people with the new owners trying to size things up. I took the survey, my ratings of them are a mixed bag. Good products, but high prices and it's absolutely impossible to reach anyone for customer service. There are a number of reasons I don't buy from them very often, and they are 30 minutes away.

By contrast, my LHBS impressed me yesterday. The owner called to say he was unable to get the special order of Imperial yeast I wanted (turns out Imperial requires a 30 pack minimum order from retailers). The owner apologized, but I get it--it's not practical for him to order 30 packs of Imperial when the store doesn't sell much of that brand. He wanted to make sure I knew the situation so I would have enough time to get something else and make a starter, if necessary. Very thoughtful. I stopped in and picked up a pack of WL yeast today and I'll be set for next week's brew.
 
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<Ugh>
A more compelling reason than ever to support your local mom and pop's type LHBS.

Don't give capitalists your hard earned money, they've got plenty already while raking in wherever they can at staggering rates.
</ugh>
If it weren’t for those capitalist Mom & Pops we wouldn’t have any LHBS’s!!
 

madscientist451

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When I buy stuff, I'm always looking for the best price. I've bought some things from NB in the past, but lately More Beer has been my online retailer of choice.
I have to drive pretty far out of my way to go to a decent LHBS so buying on-line saves time and money. The new owners of NB are going to expect some profits for their investment, maybe NB will cut prices or have more sales to bump up their sales volume?
I doubt it, but its possible......
 

MaxStout

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It's 'Capital' and 'Holdings' in "Blackstreet Capital Holdings, LLC" that rubs me the wrong way. I know it's hard to avoid anymore, but we can try. I do once I know.
I'm always a little leery of vulture capitalists, and have seen what some of them have done to companies. I've also worked for a few companies owned by VC firms. It's not pretty. However, I saw this holding company's mission and it appears they do tend to acquire specialized, hard-luck types of businesses. Their mission statement:

Blackstreet Capital Holdings, LLC (“BCH”) is a privately held diversified operating company that owns and manages lower middle market businesses. BCH is not a private equity fund. Instead, BCH is a permanent holding company that seeks investments in debt and equity of lower middle market businesses or corporate orphans that are in out-of-favor industries or are undergoing some form of transition. It invests in a range of industries including education, manufacturing, sports and entertainment, distribution, retail, technology, consumer finance and franchising.​

I get the impression this is not just some bolt-on acquisition (like with AB Inbev), but perhaps an entity that can build up quirky types of businesses. Or at least allow the inside people to run it. One can only hope. Time will tell.
 

madscientist451

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I'm always a little leery of vulture capitalists,
"Vulture Capitalists" may sound like a group of demons in some backroom somewhere plotting to make money no matter what.
Ok, maybe that's true....but, organizations like that serve a purpose: to provide liquidity to the business marketplace.
ABInBev wanted to turn their investment in NB into cash. The holding company provided the cash and NB is still operating as a company.
If you owned a string of successful brew pubs and wanted to sell them all and retire, a holding company might be the one that would pay you what you want.
Without market liquidity, people would be less likely to invest in startup or existing businesses.
 

day_trippr

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Anyone think AB InBev actually profited on this?
I'm betting it was a "stem the down side" thing...

Cheers!
 

MaxStout

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"Vulture Capitalists" may sound like a group of demons in some backroom somewhere plotting to make money no matter what.
Ok, maybe that's true....but, organizations like that serve a purpose: to provide liquidity to the business marketplace.
ABInBev wanted to turn their investment in NB into cash. The holding company provided the cash and NB is still operating as a company.
If you owned a string of successful brew pubs and wanted to sell them all and retire, a holding company might be the one that would pay you what you want.
Without market liquidity, people would be less likely to invest in startup or existing businesses.
Thank you for that tidbit of business acumen. :rolleyes:
 

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So I can order from them again, with only a slight twinge on my conscience versus a large one.
Of course, my LHBS has been really short on ingredients the last couple batches I've done - short on most crystal malts on one, and many common hops the latest... so I'm considering going mail-order (internet order) for the future, barring certain and emergency purchases.
Wonder if it has anything to do with the pot shop that just opened up in the same strip-mall. Guy's killed off enough brain cells as it is....
 

MaxStout

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So I can order from them again, with only a slight twinge on my conscience versus a large one.
Of course, my LHBS has been really short on ingredients the last couple batches I've done - short on most crystal malts on one, and many common hops the latest... so I'm considering going mail-order (internet order) for the future, barring certain and emergency purchases.
Wonder if it has anything to do with the pot shop that just opened up in the same strip-mall. Guy's killed off enough brain cells as it is....
I like Morebeer for grain: free shipping on orders > $59. Good prices and you can get just what you need in 1, 5 and 10lb packages. Hops from Farmhouse, and there are many other places with decent prices too. But I buy yeast locally as I don't trust the conditions in-transit and want to see the mfg date before I buy.
 

Sauls

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Interesting how InBev moved on, assume the smart folks assumed return on investment wasn’t worth it Makes business sense since home brew is small potatoes to a conglomerate. But what we are left with is that much better with kinda inflated prices?
 

madscientist451

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They'll start lobbying against homebrew in 3..2..1...
In a year's time, ABInBev probably spills more beer when they clean their lines and tanks than all homebrewers make.
Homebrewing is really just a drop in the bucket compared to the large industrial brewers.
In 2018, US beer sales were 194,278,588 Barrels.
It is estimated that homebrewers make 1.4 million barrels.
 

jrgtr42

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I like Morebeer for grain: free shipping on orders > $59. Good prices and you can get just what you need in 1, 5 and 10lb packages. Hops from Farmhouse, and there are many other places with decent prices too. But I buy yeast locally as I don't trust the conditions in-transit and want to see the mfg date before I buy.
Yeah, I've ordered from Morebeer a few times. Up till now I've gotten 90% of stuff at my LHBS. I'll give him a couple more chances - I do have some credit there to use up, but I may start going online. Ther only thing I worry about is if I need yeast in summer. Even with icepacks I don't really trust it for a 2 - 5 days in a truck.
I do keep some yeasts banked, but I always keep some dry on hand just in case - so it's not the S04 or S05 and equivalents I worry about, it's the Irish Ale I use for Stouts, the Abbey for my strong Dark and so on.
Morebeer is definitely good, I have used Austin a couple times, and one other. I haven't used Northern or Midwest since they got bought out.
I have gotten hops from Yakima Valley a couple times and had good experience there - I'll most likely use them again.
The only other thing is that I'll need to get a mill - one of those things I don't care for getting pre-crushed.
 

burntchef

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Ordered from them for the first time last Saturday, still waiting for my order....... will not order again. Moving on to someone else. Summer traffic drove me to the web instead of driving 2 hours to my closest lhbs.
Eric
 

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In a year's time, ABInBev probably spills more beer when they clean their lines and tanks than all homebrewers make.
Homebrewing is really just a drop in the bucket compared to the large industrial brewers.
In 2018, US beer sales were 194,278,588 Barrels.
It is estimated that homebrewers make 1.4 million barrels.
challenge accepted !!!
 
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Yeah, I've ordered from Morebeer a few times. Up till now I've gotten 90% of stuff at my LHBS. I'll give him a couple more chances - I do have some credit there to use up, but I may start going online. Ther only thing I worry about is if I need yeast in summer. Even with icepacks I don't really trust it for a 2 - 5 days in a truck.
I do keep some yeasts banked, but I always keep some dry on hand just in case - so it's not the S04 or S05 and equivalents I worry about, it's the Irish Ale I use for Stouts, the Abbey for my strong Dark and so on.
Morebeer is definitely good, I have used Austin a couple times, and one other. I haven't used Northern or Midwest since they got bought out.
I have gotten hops from Yakima Valley a couple times and had good experience there - I'll most likely use them again.
The only other thing is that I'll need to get a mill - one of those things I don't care for getting pre-crushed.
+++1 on ordering liquid yeast during hot weather. My last (and I do mean LAST) order fromWhite Labs vault arrived and the inside pack was 100°F! They promised replacements, credit yada, yada. Never happened.
I will say Great Fermentations has been very reliable with quick shipping and fresh yeast.
I haven’t tried their grains milled as I have my own setup.
Yakima Valley is very reliable and responsive to questions, too.
Otherwise I rely on a LHBS which orders yeast often and if you preorder they discount pack $1 each plus they offer hard to beat group bulk grain orders.
 

Immocles

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Coincidence perhaps, but they must have just raised the free shipping price to 40$. I was very nearly placing an order a few days ago but went a different route, and noticed today that it doesn’t kick in until $40 threshold. It definitely was still at $30 on like, Tuesday.
 
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Anybody have any more news about Northern Brewer and where Blackstreet is taking them?

Northern was my local store until the AbInbev buy out. We just had a shock to our homebrew supply retail situation here in Minneapolis/St. Paul. The only other homebrew store is closing. The owners decided to retire apparently. They were a good little store and I will miss them dearly.

That leaves me pondering the question of my return to Northern Brewer and the Midwest stores. Since I left on moral grounds I'm hoping to learn a little bit about what they plan to do with them going forward.
 

kh54s10

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Anybody have any more news about Northern Brewer and where Blackstreet is taking them?

Northern was my local store until the AbInbev buy out. We just had a shock to our homebrew supply retail situation here in Minneapolis/St. Paul. The only other homebrew store is closing. The owners decided to retire apparently. They were a good little store and I will miss them dearly.

That leaves me pondering the question of my return to Northern Brewer and the Midwest stores. Since I left on moral grounds I'm hoping to learn a little bit about what they plan to do with them going forward.
If your only reason for abandoning NB was moral grounds.... InBev no longer owns NB so why not give them a shot again? Unless you have something against Blackstreet.
 
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If your only reason for abandoning NB was moral grounds.... InBev no longer owns NB so why not give them a shot again? Unless you have something against Blackstreet.
That's a fair suggestion. I'm going to because I have no other options that mail order. I use liquid yeast, so...

My real curiosity is probably what is going to happen to them now. Originally I was wondering if they were going to dismantle them. I have no idea what is working and not working in the company. The original store in St. Paul is the most convenient one for me, but is also the smallest.

It's been incredibly silent and their website (Which I opened again for the first time in a couple of years) makes no mention of any changes. Just left wondering which is why I had asked if anybody has heard anything.
 

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I'm from Europe but followed the story about InBev buying NB.
I just discovered in another thread that they sold to another company a few years ago and that's how I found this thread today.

It's been 2 years now how did it end up; any changes in direction since the new owners took over?
Are people buying from them again that stopped because of the InBev deal?
 

easttex

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I'm from Europe but followed the story about InBev buying NB.
I just discovered in another thread that they sold to another company a few years ago and that's how I found this thread today.

It's been 2 years now how did it end up; any changes in direction since the new owners took over?
Are people buying from them again that stopped because of the InBev deal?
I got an order in from Midwest a couple weeks ago. I don't use them for much as my LHBS gets 80% of my business and Adventures in Homebrewing/Austin Homebrew Supply get the other 20%.

But I wanted another Big Mouth Bubbler and Depth Charge lid so I placed an order.
 

day_trippr

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I do recall there was the initial knee-jerk reaction when InBev bought in, then a couple of years of nobody really noticing much of anything different, and then InBev saw the end in sight and bailed - again, with scant mention...
 

kh54s10

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I started with Northern Brewer. As I learned more I found that I could get what I wanted for less easily. Just a little internet searching,
 

bracconiere

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Are people buying from them again that stopped because of the InBev deal?

i was, but now at morebeer a pound of base malt is like ~2$.....so i'm going back to malting my own.....(damn i really need to figure out a contraption to automate blowing the rootlets off! 🤔🤞)
 
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I'm from Europe but followed the story about InBev buying NB.
I just discovered in another thread that they sold to another company a few years ago and that's how I found this thread today.

It's been 2 years now how did it end up; any changes in direction since the new owners took over?
Are people buying from them again that stopped because of the InBev deal?
I’ve gone back. My brewing frequency is down, but when I need something that’s where I go.

It’s been a weird year to do comparisons. For a long time you couldn’t walk in the store. From what I can tell not much has changed about the retail experience. They do seem to be drifting towards having their own, or at least unique brands of things, but I have no idea how that relates to their larger ownership and strategy questions.
 
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Glad NB is no longer a macro swill sellout, but I still don't like their high prices or their re-labeled malts. Online homebrewing supply isn't a monopoly game anymore and my favorite suppliers are the little guys. I have a hops guy, a parts guy, a malts guy, etc. They each have an area of expertise and offer the most dynamic value. NB needs to catch up with the times, maybe ~35-40 points margin is not sustainable? That might work with newcomers who don't know what's what, but we're a resourceful bunch. We will find a way to sustain our hobby on a shoestring budget. It's just the nature of homebrewing.
 

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