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Ballast Point Brewing Sold To Constellation Brands For $1B

Ballast Point, a nearly 20-year-old operation known for its popular Sculpin IPA and Grapefruit Sculpin IPA, will continue as a stand-alone company with its existing management team and employees running the day-to-day operations.

Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, one of San Diego's top craft beer producers, was acquired Monday by Constellation Brands for $1 billion.

Ballast Point, a nearly 20-year-old operation known for its popular Sculpin IPA and Grapefruit Sculpin IPA, will continue as a stand-alone company with its existing management team and employees running the day-to-day operations, Constellation announced.

Ballast Point will be able to tap into Constellation's finances to continue its growth.

"We started this business nearly 20 years ago with a vision to produce great beer that consumers love and to do it the right way," said Jack White, Ballast Point's founder.

"To achieve that vision, we needed to find the right partner," White said. "The team at Constellation shares our values, entrepreneurial spirit and passion for beer, and has a proven track record of helping successful premium brands reach the next level of growth and scale."

The deal allows Constellation, which imports and distributes name brands like Corona and Robert Mondavi, to enter the fast-growing craft beer market.

Kevin Hopkins, vice president with the San Diego Brewer's Guild, said some purists may see this is bad, but he sees a glass half full.

"They are not all small anymore. And so now they've grown up and are doing big things," Hopkins said. "That means the middle sized breweries are going to move up and the smaller boutique breweries are also going to move up. To some people this is going to invigorate them."

According to a joint statement by the companies, Ballast Point is on pace to sell nearly 4 million cases this year — double last year. Net sales for calendar 2015 are expected to approximate $115 million.

According to the Brewer's Association, Ballast Point ranked 31st as the craft brewer in the U.S. in 2014 with the highest sales volume. The region's largest-seller, Stone Brewing, was ninth.

Vince Vasquez, who studies the local craft beer industry for the National University System Institute for Policy Research, said local brewers will have sales estimated at more than a billion dollars this year. Vasquez said local craft brewing is being noticed by savvy investors.

"This shows that it's a viable product. Its something that's a good investment and its something that we expect to see grow and develop in a way that brings more tourism business and sales tax revenue, more economic growth to the San Diego region," Vasquez said.

Ballast Point employs more than 500 employees, produces beer in four facilities in the San Diego region and sells its beer in over 30 states, according to the statement.

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