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11/30/2018

Wiseacre Follow-Up: Sold Minority Stake to Local PE; Build to Potential Ceiling; Lean on Tiny Bomb (excerpt)

Wiseacre sold “minority” stake to Memphis-based [financial firm/single-family office], Kemmons Wilson Companies, as part of upcoming project for eventual 100K bbls/yr brewery in Downtown Memphis (see last issue), co-founder Kellan Bartosch confirmed with CBN. Kellan and his brother/brewmaster/co-founder Davin remain majority owners, primary decision makers, and in charge of “day-to-day” operations, he assured. While co met with other potential suitors as well, locally-based Kemmons Wilson Cos had “a lot of mutual friends,” “were fans of what we did” and “realized we had an opportunity to grow.”

Figure Out Potential Ceiling and Work Backwards; “Optimistic” and “Reasonable” After nearly maxing out capacity just a few yrs after opening, Wiseacre had to ask itself the “tough question”: “What is your ceiling?” and work backwards. Co realized it wasn’t trying to be the next 1 mil-bbl, or even 300K-bbl brewer, but a 100K bbls/yr brewery feels within reach, Kellan and co concluded. Then co hadda “figure out what makes sense” in terms of equipment and financing. “You want to be optimistic and reasonable,” particularly in this next phase of increased competition in craft.  Co consciously avoided scenario of building “another small brewery” that it could potentially grow out of again in short order, but co wasn’t lookin’ to “stack more debt” either. Ultimately, after going thru this process, “we have more of a vision of where we want to be.” Tho originally “we thought we were doing that when we opened up” current brewery, he quipped.

21K Bbls in 2018; Tiny Bomb Pilsner 40% of Mix, #1 Focus Advantage Wiseacre’s current brewery is “basically at its maximum capacity,” tho co will squeeze out an additional 1K bbls to 21K bbls for full year 2018. And even as the new brewery is in development, Kellan and co “think we’ll be able to support…slight pick-up of pace” and “a couple [new] markets” tacked on to its 7-state footprint. Yet TN is still “most of our volume.” ...

Publishing Info

  • Year: 2018
  • Volume: 9
  • Issue #: 107
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