Deal Among Arizona Breweries Ensures Local Ownership and Hopes to Boost Brand Names

Staying true to its Arizona roots was important for Huss Brewing. Making sure a popular brand was not nationally acquired set the wheels in motion for the Tempe, Arizona brewery to buy fellow Arizona brewery, Scottsdale’s Papago Brewing in a recent deal.

“With the recent spate of mergers and acquisitions from international and out of state conglomerates, it was important that we made a strategic move to keep this one in Arizona,” said Huss Brewing’s Chip Mulala, the brewery’s Sales Chief and “Minister of Craft Beer.”

Another key to the acquisition is the Papago name, which Mulala said will help anticipate growth. Already, Huss has hired two new sales people while investing in additional marketing and sales team tools.

“It positions Huss as for strong growth with relevant brands in a growing ultra competitive marketplace,” Mulala said.

Led by the husband and wife team of Leah and Jeff Huss, Huss Brewing was founded in 2013 and was already recognized as the state’s fastest-growing brewery and is 13th in the nation among New Craft beer entries, according to the national research firm, IRI. Following the acquisition of Papago and its best-selling Papago Orange Blossom mandarin wheat beer, the newly combined Huss Family of Beers is forecasted to finish 2016 as the third largest brewery in Arizona based on industry standard Nielsen scan data, behind Four Peaks and SanTan. huss-img_7965_800x300

Due to space constraints, Papago — which opened in 2001 —  has always outsourced the brewing of its beers to local breweries, including Huss. Having that prior relationship “helped tremendously,” Mulala said.

“This was a mutually beneficial deal,” he said. “It was great for us and great for them.”

The Huss company structure will not change but Papago Brewing’s restaurant and craft beer bar will continue operating business as usual however the use of the name “Papago Brewing Company” will now be used under license.

“Unlike many other of the big brewery mega mergers that have occurred over the last few years where global conglomerates come in and buy local breweries and say nothing will change, in this deal it is being kept local and is in the best interest of consumers, and yes, things will change,” said Ron Kloth, president of Papago, in a release. “Papago first started out as a small homebrew shop, but as the craft beer market has grown, and the beer production side of our business has also grown dramatically, we realized Huss Brewing can support the Papago brand in the Arizona market better than we could, and this deal is just the next logical step for us to go in order to continue our business evolution.”

Huss is also opening a second taproom location in Uptown Phoenix toward the end of 2016 called “Huss Brewing at Uptown Plaza.”

“This will help plant the flag firmly in Arizona and who we represent,” Mulala said.

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