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Boulevard Brewing Sold to Belgium-Based Duvel Moortgat

Categories: Beer

Boulevard-Brewing-Logo.jpg

Boulevard Brewing Company (2501 Southwest Boulevard, Kansas City; 816-474-7095) announced yesterday that it has been bought by Belgian brewer Duvel Moortgat. Kansas City fans were dismayed on social media, much as we were when InBev swooped up Anheuser-Busch in 2011.

But president and founder John McDonald doesn't see it as a bad thing.

"You know, I am sure there will be somebody drinking a Bud Light on a barstool in KC that will say, 'Did you hear they sold out to the Belgians?' But you know what? I don't really care," McDonald tells Gut Check. "This is a very different story than that."

See also: The Six Best Craft Beer Makers in St. Louis

McDonald says he fell in love with Belgian beer years ago while on a trip to Europe with his wife, but he says this isn't the same thing as the A-B InBev partnership.

"These brewers are much smaller than that -- they're owners and brewers, not bankers. Therein lies the difference," he says. "It allows us to grow our footprint here in the U.S. ....They're strong on the East and West coasts. We're stronger in the Midwest. There was very little overlap when it came to distribution. It gives us just a whole lot more firepower for availability in more venues."

The St. Louis Business Journal reported that the sale makes Schlafly the largest locally owned craft brewer in the state, and some argue that this means Boulevard is no longer a craft brewery. But McDonald doesn't engage with the whole how-big-is-too-big controversy within the craft-brewing community.

"The size of the brewery is way less important than the way the brewery operates and how they go to market. I'm not real big on size matters one way or the other," he says. "It's the way the brewer approaches making his beer."

The main Boulevard offerings will remain the same, but McDonald says the deal with Duvel will give it more opportunity to experiment.

"Right now experimentation is incredibly big in the U.S. -- there's lots of new beers coming out," he says. "I think ultimately every brewery wants what Duvel has -- a beer that is iconic and lasting. I think we have that with our wheat beer, our pale ale, the Tank 7. Some of our beers are approaching that status."

McDonald tells us that he will stay very involved with the day-to-day operation of Boulevard, but he has been looking for the next generation of Boulevard.

"Frankly, it is the Show-Me State, and we'll continue to show them that we make great beer."

Read McDonald's letter announcing the sale on the Boulevard site here.

Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. Email the author at nancy.stiles@riverfronttimes.com or follow her on Twitter.




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14 comments
Brian Sheppard
Brian Sheppard

What happened to "Think Global; Drink local!" We'll I quests that means no more Boulevard!!

billj598
billj598 topcommenter

" A-B InBev partnership"  ???  Get a clue pal, it ain't a partnership, it's an outright ownership and the first thing the Brazilians did was to get rid of every one over 50 and had many years of employment that actually ran the place and had the knowledge and expertise to do it ?  Get your facts straight while you try so hard to explain your sell-out to foreigners for big bucks and try to explain your greed... 

Jeff Lagemann
Jeff Lagemann

Well it looks like Kansas Cityuns will now face the same thing that St. Louisuns did. Drink Local.

Sj Braun
Sj Braun

Saint Louis has oooodles of entrepreneurs making their own brews !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gurf J. McGurf
Gurf J. McGurf

Right, he should be American! Move to an occupied land, rape and murder the people who inhabit it, force slaves to work it, and deprive it of all it's natural resources!

Jim Phillips
Jim Phillips

Nothing against the Belgians, but I prefer seeing companies owned by United States citizens/companies, and I prefer those companies staying in THIS country as well.

Rob Randall
Rob Randall

Interesting. All I will add is that there are far worse beer companies that he could have sold to. Duvel is a lot better than Inbev.

Tracy Burnette
Tracy Burnette

This is a staple in our fridge. The unfiltered wheat is just amazing. When a friend says "unfiltered wheat? no way..." and then they try it, haha, love to prove them wrong!

Marc Seleman
Marc Seleman

Congrats to him for building something and profiting from it. That is the American dream. But it is still a sell out to a foreign company which is un-American.

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