Many Kansas Citians seemed pretty distressed in the days immediately following Boulevard Brewing’s announcement that it will soon be owned by Duvel Moortgat. Much of that reaction was based on Duvel Moortgat’s Belgian-ness, foreign-ness or at least its non-Kansas-City-ness. In the Craft Brew News we sent out on Oct 22, we noted the initial Kansas City Star editorial that called the deal “disappointing” and “unfortunate,” as well as a second editorial originally titled the “Boulevard Brewing blues," but now going by another name.
But this week, folks over at the Star seem to have turned a corner, printing today’s “If experience holds, Boulevard’s fans and hometown will do just fine.” It comes just days after CNBC shared the glowing response to the deal from Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head and current Brewers Association chairman. We printed Sam’s opinion that Boulevard founder John McDonald has “made one of the most graceful transitions in ownership of a craft brewery that’s been made yet,” in Insights Express yesterday. The Star’s current article looks closely at Duvel’s experience with Brewery Ommegang, founded in 1997 and purchased by Duvel Moortgat in 2003. Citing Cooperstown-area locals and bar-owners, the article attempts to assuage worried Kansas Citians, noting that not only does Ommegang still make “award-winning Belgian-style beer, just like it has since 1997,” but it also still regularly gives back to its upstate NY community and does its fair share attracting visitors to that community. Boulevard is a company with deep connections to KC, and now one Missouri resident told the paper that, even under this new ownership structure, “I don’t see that changing.”