Daily Archives: July 17, 2015

Belgium Brewery Buys Firestone Walker

Stunning news from Paso Robles.

One of the more successful brewers in the U.S., Firestone Walker, has been acquired by Belgium-based Duvel Moortgat. In an agreement signed earlier this week, it was announced that although the acquisition is by Duvel of the California brewer, management will be retained including David Walker and Adam Firestone.

In their press release, Walker states:

“The Firestone Walker and Duvel Moortgat families have combined forces to broaden their capacity and scope as brewers. Long admirers of each other’s beers, culture and breweries, the two teams saw the perfect fit for an alliance. The partnership will allow Firestone Walker to develop our capacity across the US in a conservative and thoughtful way by consummating a life long tie with this family-owned international craft brewer, who continue their commitment to participating in the American Craft Revolution.”

Duvel’s conglomerate has been expanding in the United States recently with acquisitions including Missouri-based Boulevard Brewing early last year. A well-known and award-winning beer maker in Europe, Duvel was established in 1871.

Adam Firestone, who is the great grandson of the famed Firestone Tire and Rubber Company founder Harvey Samuel Firestone, founded Firestone Walker with his brother-in-law David Walker in 1996 here on the Central Coast. Expanding in Paso Robles, California, they created a unique craft-brewed tastes by using wine barrel style oak cask to offer up an oakey style flavor. The company has grown from a small local micro-brewer into a mid-sized brewing powerhouse.

Obviously influenced by wine country on the Central Coast, Firestone Walker uses oak barrels to obtain their unique flavor.

Expansion in mind

Currently distributed in 21 states, according to Firestone’s website, the company struggled to expand and still keep the traits of a specialty craft brewer. Firestone Walker’s announcement states this collaboration, with …

“Duvel Moortgat investment in us is an elegant solution”

The American company insists that all their 360 employees will be retained and the two founders remain in control of management. Both sides of the deal are private concerns so details are not readily available.

It remains to be seen how this combining of U.S. operations will work for Duvel and Firestone Walker, and many will be watching the Paso Robles company to see if there will be changes in the structure of the business going forward.


Daryle W. Hier