Tuesday, August 14, 2007

River Horse sold

Joe Sixpack scoops again: Don Russell is reporting on his site that River Horse (as rumored earlier this year) has been sold.
River Horse sold -- A Philly investment group has purchased the Lambertville, N.J., brewery from its founders, Tim & Jim Bryan, for an undisclosed figure. The press release promises a major expansion. The Bryans will remain with the company.

Russell's got the beer reporting mojo working; hats off!

12 comments:

bill mc said...

With the other changes in this past year will River Horse be around as a brewpub or just a restaurant?

Matt said...

I don't fully understand the previous poster's point...River Horse is a production brewery. Maybe I am too dense to pick up on what he is getting at.

Ron from Jersey said...

This deal sounds like investors getting into the beer biz for the money and not the beer.

Flashbacks to the mid 90s anyone ?

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that I agree with your statement. Although your theory could be applied to every industry. Investors (or anyone)rarely get into any business without the intent of making money. Isn't it possible that they looked at River Horse and said "this is a ood brewery being managed poorly". The fact that they are leaving the original owners on to handle the brewing tells me they think they have a marketable product but think they can improve the financial side of the business.

Loren said...

RH also brewed some -private- offerings for a local-ish restaurant, no? Maybe they're planning a brewpub in addition to expanded the prod side of things?

And let's hope Ron is wrong.

Lew Bryson said...

Bill, Matt's right: River Horse is strictly a production brewery, with a tasting room. Not sure who you're thinking of, maybe Porter House in Lahaska? If so, they are going to be even more of a brewpub than they were, with Dean Browne brewing the house beers and the former Yards taps becoming independent taps -- expect to see a variety of micros there.

Lew Bryson said...

Ron, I agree with the guy who responded to you. This sounds more like investors who see a market that's expanding, a player in that market who has a solid -- if small -- distribution network already in place but is short on cash to properly expand into that market, and put the two together to make opportunity. Investors generally DO get into brewing for the money; that's why we call them "investors" and not "brewers." Time will tell how serious these guys are, but there are going to be some serious, clean, and smart people getting involved in brewing this time around, more than there were last time, because brewing has a much better track record these days. Still gonna be some scummers, though.

Stan Hieronymus said...

How would you say this relates to your first Portfolio column?

Lew Bryson said...

Possibly, Loren, but it's a weird location for a brewpub: dead end, accessible only on a tiny offshoot of a road. Be nice to go to by bike, though. I doubt it.

Lew Bryson said...

Stan, I'd say this may represent the good side of that scenario: serious investors getting into the craft brewing business, and delivering the cash and business acumen that is crucial to a larger success.

I keep thinking of Jack Joyce's evaluation of growth in the craft brewing industry, that if we want to get to 10% of the market, it's going to take billions of dollars worth of capital expenditure on physical plant. That kind of money, and the wisdom to use it effectively, has to come from somewhere.

So overall? I'm hopeful. We'll see. The same kind of thing took place recently in PA at Penn Brewing (a partial purchase, Tom Pastorius still holds, I think, 40% of the company) and Erie Brewing. Neither of those have started making 'yellow fizzy beer' yet. I'm primarily worried about guys who get in with ill-conceived notions about what craft beer is -- fruits and funny names -- or who want to pump up the volume by discounting. Wait and see.

bill mc said...

ok, I had a senior(moron) moment, I juxtaposed the Porterhouse BC with Riverhorse since they used to carry their beers. My bad totally, sorry for the confusion...another mind destroyed by catholic education...:(

Ron From Jersey said...

Loren's an optimist and I'm the pessimist ?

I believe that maybe a first.