After weeks of rumblings among industry insiders, and days of speculation on social media, the news concerning potential changes at Arbor Brewing Company has been officially confirmed. Ownership is shifting, but the company’s roots will stay in Michigan.
Arbor Brewing Company, one of Michigan’s oldest craft beer brands, has joined the Farm + Ferment family of Michigan-based hospitality businesses, that includes Michigan Hop Alliance, Northport Farms, Baia Estate Vineyard, Bigalora Wood Fired Cucina, Bacco Ristorante and Cloverleaf Fine Wine, through an acquisition by ABC Brew Holding, LLC and ABC Brew Production, LLC.
“It’s such an amazing opportunity to be able to join this group!” René Greff, a founding co-owner of ABC said. “We’ve heard nothing but good things” regarding Farm + Ferment, she added.
Farm + Ferment’s ABC Brew Holding, LLC and ABC Brew Production, LLC have acquired the membership interests of Arbor Brewing Company founders Matt and René Greff, and the other investors, in both Arbor Brewing Company, LLC and Corner Brewery, LLC, respectively, and engaged the Greffs in a 10-year agreement. Along with the business assets, ABC Brew Holding, LLC will have exclusive brand rights throughout North America. Greff Brewing Services, LLC will retain exclusive rights to Arbor Brewing Company throughout India, and the two entities will share the brand rights throughout the rest of the world.
“In an era of craft breweries being gobbled up by multi-nationals, we couldn’t be more pleased to be joining a consortium of local, independent Michigan operators representing the best of our industries,” René Greff said. “This strategic partnership will allow both the Arbor Brewing Company Brewpub and Microbrewery to continue to grow and thrive in an evolving craft beer marketplace, and it will free Matt and I up to do what we love best – promote and grow the brand here and abroad.”
According to René, the couple is planning to extend their annual stay in India next Spring to attend to the needs of the company there but will remain active and involved in Michigan as well.
“Acquiring a brewery fit perfectly with our long-term strategy,” said Mike Collins, managing principal, Farm + Ferment. “We’ve been very successful with our wine and hop businesses, and are continuing to expand the Bigalora Wood Fired Cucina brand. We were in the initial planning stages of a new brewery when we started discussions with the Greffs. We all knew right away that this was an ideal situation for everyone.”
Collins goes on to say that all current employees will remain, and ABC Brew Production, LLC has plans to expand the Ypsilanti location and eventually open additional brewpubs around the state.
Brian Tennis of Michigan Hop Alliance told MittenBrew.com “Farm and Ferment is a new entity that will focus on our hopyards, vineyards, and orchards as well as the new brewery and the winery being built in Northport.”
Tennis’ role will continues to be focusing “on our hop operations, including running the day to day Michigan Hop Alliance business. As well as overseeing our hopyards, brokering hops both foreign and domestically, and to work closely with our network of over 600 breweries around North America and Europe. I’m obviously very excited about working with everyone at ABC and will be providing the brewery with the best hops available with a stronger focus on Michigan grown ingredients.”