River Horse Brewing Company Acquires DuClaw Brewing Company in Maryland 

River Horse Brewing Company, based in New Jersey, United States, acquired fellow brewing company DuClaw Brewing Company, in Maryland, United States, on June 2, 2023. River Horse will consolidate the operations of DuClaw, shutting down the brewery operations in Maryland, and will operate from New Jersey.

Transaction Summary

The Facts of the Acquisition

River Horse Brewing Company’s (acquirer) product reach spans New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. DuClaw Brewing Company (target) has an existing reach to 21 states, including the East Coast and southern United States, from New York to Michigan to Texas to Florida. 

Both companies produce a variety of craft beers sold in individual serving sizes and in popular flavors. And both brew at their in-house facilities and sell through distributors.

Our Take on the Acquisition

Acquiring DuClaw will give River Horse immediate access to a distribution network that encompasses 21 states. These channels can also be used to distribute River Horse’s portfolio of craft beers. 

River Horse’s expertise lies in the management and operation of the brewery. Consolidating both companies’ operations into River Horse’s facility in Ewing, New Jersey, will let the company realize immediate and long-term savings in operational costs. However, it is unclear whether the 25,000 square-foot facility has enough capacity to cater to the excess production of DuClaw’s products. DuClaw’s current brewery in Baltimore, Maryland, is 62,000 square feet, and its capacity utilization is unclear. It is expected that River Horse’s facility may require expansion to accommodate the transfer.

The target company’s management team can focus on building the brand and innovating with new products. 

The Transaction

Date:June 2, 2023
Purpose: To grow through acquiring new product lines, and to reduce costs through consolidation.
Acquirer’s Statement:River Horse’s owner Chris Walsh – “From the first time we met Dave [CEO and owner, DuClaw Brewing Company] to discuss possible combinations, we knew this would be an amazing partnership.” Dave is one of the most creative minds in the brewing industry and is always on the cutting edge of flavor profile formulations. He is excited to transfer the production responsibilities to River Horse’s team in Ewing, New Jersey, to focus his full attention on the parts of his business he loves: products, strategy, and sales.
Seller’s Statement:Dave Benfield, DuClaw’s owner – “The operations part of brewing can be challenging. This partnership will enable me to focus my efforts on what I do best. I spent too much time and energy on the latest mechanical, logistical, or supply issues, and I was taken from driving the brand in the way I desired.”
The acquisition, conducted for River Horse under RHB Acquisition LLC, will allow the two brands to be managed separately but combine facilities and share production capacity along with distribution partnerships, according to a statement from River Horse. The brewery will continue making its line of beers despite the move, the company said in its release.

Target/Seller: DuClaw Brewing Company

Company Information

Target:DuClaw Brewing Company
Industry: Brewery
Employees:35 (Source: Zippia)
Locations:Corporate Office and Brewery: 8901 Yellow Brick Rd, Baltimore, Maryland, United States (Located approximately 130 miles from the acquirer)

Product Information 

Products:Ale – Beer brewed using a warm fermentation method, resulting in a sweet, full-bodied and fruity taste
Craft Beer – Traditional malt-flavored alcoholic drink made in small batches through yeast fermentation
Double IPA – Pale ale with the addition of extra hops (flower) and malt
Porter – Added hops (flower) and brown malt, resulting in a darker appearance

Financial Information 

Revenue:USD $7.3 million (Unconfirmed Source: Zippia)
Revenue per Employee:USD $208,571

Target/Seller Overview: DuClaw Brewing Company

DuClaw Brewing Company is a craft brewery founded in 1996 in Bel Air by Dave Benfield and has been producing its line of beers, ranging from the popular Sweet Baby Jesus porter to the Misfit Red American Ale, at a 62,000-square-foot industrial building in Baltimore, Maryland, since 2013. Its products are sold mainly through distributors and can be found in 21 states, Washington, D.C., and internationally in Canada and France.

DuClaw’s product line is sold in 21 states in the United States.
DuClaw sells ale, beer, IPA, and porter and is produced in Maryland, United States.
DuClaw beers are sold in 21 states across the East Coast and southern United States.

Buyer/Acquirer: River Horse Brewing Company

Company Information

Buyer:River Horse Brewing Company
Industry: Brewery
Employees:11-20 (Self-published on LinkedIn)
Locations:Corporate Office and Brewery: 2 Graphics Drive Ewing, New Jersey, United States (Located approximately 130 miles from the target) 

Product Information 

Products:Ale – Beer brewed using a warm fermentation method, resulting in a sweet, full-bodied and fruity taste
Craft Beer – Traditional, malt-flavored alcoholic drink made in small batches through yeast fermentation
Double IPA – Pale ale with the addition of extra hops (flower) and malt
Lager Beer brewed at low temperature using bottom-fermenting
Stout – Dark, top-fermented beer with a stronger alcohol content
Pilsner – Bright golden color, moderately bitter with a distinct aroma, brewed with malt and hops
Tripel Strong pale ale with higher alcohol content

Financial Information 

Revenue:USD $6.3 million (2022) – (Unconfirmed Source: Rocketreach)
Revenue per Employee:USD $315,000

Buyer/Acquirer Overview: River Horse Brewing Co.

River Horse Brewing Co. is a craft brewery in Ewing Township in Mercer County, New Jersey. It was started in 1996, but then came under new ownership in 2007. It is New Jersey’s second-largest craft brewery, after Flying Fish Brewery.

River Horse Brewing Company was founded by the Bryan brothers, Jim, Jack, and Tim. The original location was in Lambertville, New Jersey, in a 10,000 sq ft brewery. After 11 years, the brothers sold the brewery to Glenn Bernabeo and Chris Walsh, who had just sold their private equity firm, SSG Capital Advisors, and were looking for “another challenge.” In 2013 they moved the brewery to a new, 25,000 sq ft facility in Ewing, New Jersey.

River Horse’s main beer styles are Hippotizing IPA, an American IPA; Tripel Horse, a Belgian-style tripel ale; Roly Poly Pils, a Czech-style pilsner; My Name Is Citrus Maximus, a fruited IPA; River Horse IPA; and Special Ale, an American amber ale. They also produce a variety of seasonal ales, such as a Summer Blonde Ale and Autumn Pumpkin Ale.

River Horse’s (acquirer) product portfolio. Sold in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania

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