Interview with Green Flash’s CEO Mike Hinkley on the Alpine Brewing Acquisition
Brewery mergers and acquisitions are all the rage these days like the recent announcement of Green Flash Brewing’s acquisition of Alpine Beer Co. that left a few questions unanswered so we asked them of CEO and Co-Founder Mike Hinkley. What we know so far is that Green Flash Brewing had already been brewing around a thousand barrels a year for Alpine and that the acquisition will largely keep each brewery separate operationally but increasing Alpine beer production and availability.
I would like to thank Green Flash and Mike Hinkley for his time though many of my questions went unanswered I realize they may not have concrete answers yet. Without further ado:
Q: First, my Devil’s Advocate question: What would you say to beer geeks who are worried about maintaining the quality of Alpine’s beers?
Mike Hinkley: I would ask our beer geek friends to ask Pat McIlhenney himself what he thinks of the beers Green Flash has brewed for Alpine. I know for a fact that he is very happy with them. It was a great challenge to recreate them in larger batches, but between Pat and Chuck, they did a great job.
Q: Green Flash seems to be doing extremely well over the last few years, why sacrifice production of your own beers to brew Alpine’s?
MH: Green Flash has done extremely well, that is true. The partnership with Alpine can only put gasoline on the fire. We have built a strong company with many resources that can be shared with Alpine. Alpine brings a tremendous brand with adoring fans. More Alpine beer is a good thing for the world of craft beer.
Q: Will Alpine’s branding be getting an update and/or perhaps a packaging change that fits more with Green Flash’s 4-packs etc ?
MH: There are no plans to change Alpine’s branding. There are no plans for four packs. There is a custom Alpine 22oz bottle in the works. We just love the custom bottle around here. When we suggested that to Pat he jumped all over the chance to create his own.
Q: When will this big increase of Alpine production begin and how many barrels of Alpine beer are projected for 2015 and for Green Flash separately?
MH: We have been brewing Alpine beers for draft in California for about a year. That will continue and early next year we will add the 22oz. bottle. We are not in a rush to open any particular territory. No definitive choices have been made and there are no production goals. We start out batch-to-batch and see how it goes.
Q: What states will Alpine beer be distributed in and will it be bottles or draft or both?
Q: What will be the first state outside of California to receive Alpine beer and do you have a rough estimate when that may be?
Q: Will Green Flash have any presence at Alpine locations and will we see Alpine beer alongside Green Flash’s in your tasting rooms?
Q: Will Alpine be so separate that they may require their own brand reps and marketing or will Green Flash handle that?
Q: Obviously this acquisition means a lot for Alpine beer but will this have any effect on Green Flash be it business operations or beers?
MH: It means a lot for both Alpine and Green Flash. When you are in this business for a while, as we both have been, it becomes more about impacting people than anything else. The McIlhenneys love the people that work for them, just like Lisa and I do. It is great to watch the your people grow and achieve, both personally and professionally. We are stoked to help Pat and Val continue down that path.
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