New Belgium Brewery

Client & Engagement Overview

  • Based in Fort Collin, Colorado, New Belgium Brewing Company (“NBB”) is the third largest craft brewer in the U.S. and produces a host of Belgian-inspired beers.
  • NBB is a highly visible brand and was frequently approached by strategic acquirers; however, the board preferred a succession framework that rewarded employees, while keeping its executive team intact.
  • NBB originally established its ESOP in 2000, which owned 41.5% of the company. NBB’s board sought additional liquidity for its non-ESOP shareholders, at which point Trefethen principals were introduced to the shareholders and engaged as the company’s exclusive financial advisor.

Challenges

  • NBB was in the process of building a second brewery in Asheville, North Carolina, which would require a significant amount of capital to be set aside for the expansion.
  • Due to the company’s rapid growth, NBB’s market value had materially outpaced the recent outside valuation multiples.
  • Shareholders had a strong desire to close within 90 days in order to avoid the significant hike in personal capital gains tax rates.

Outcome

  • Trefethen principals utilized its capital raising expertise and assisted NBB and its senior lender in structuring the financing facilities that funded significant up-front cash to the non-ESOP shareholders and a large reserve for future capital expenditures for the new brewery project.
  • Due to Trefethen principals’ experience with valuation for ESOP transaction purposes, Trefethen principals successfully bridged the gap between market value and past appraisals with the ESOP trustee team through the use of recent offers and market data.
  • Created a tight transaction timeline and quarterbacked the entire process to ensure all parties, including NBB board, the senior lender, and the trustee team were ready to close on time.
  • Non-ESOP shareholders received fair market value for their equity and are able to see the company’s vision for a long-term, sustainable and independent operation going forward.