How big? Starcher, her husband and a friend drove down from Morgantown, West Virginia, this weekend to attend Cigar City’s annual Hunahpu’s Day release party for the revered seasonal stout.
On Monday, the trio were seated at a table outside the Cigar City tasting room on Spruce Street, sipping “everything they have,” when they learned the Tampa craft brewer had been acquired by Oskar Blues Brewery of Longmont, Colorado.
“I would be surprised if anything would change,” said Starcher, a medical student. “They obviously have some of the greatest beer in America. ... When you get to a certain level, you need the resources that only bigger companies have. If you want to step it up, you have to have those connections. I have no problem with it.”
That’s an attitude Cigar City founder Joey Redner hopes will take hold as word spreads that the local institution, which produces Jai Alai India Pale Ale and other award-winning beers and is credited with making Tampa a leading center of craft brewing, has been sold.
Fireman Capital Partners, a Boston-based private equity firm, is the financial partner in the deal, bringing Cigar City into a bullpen of craft brewers that include Oskar Blue, Perrin Brewing of Comstock Park, Michigan, and the Utah Brewers Cooperative, which includes the Wasatch and Squatters brands.
Redner had a message Monday for loyal customers who may have panicked when they got the news.
“Relax. Have a beer,” Redner said in an email exchange with the Tampa Tribune. “Nothing is changing. I am staying put. The brewery is staying put. I still have a lot of skin in the game via the ownership entity that has been created via the Oskar Blues holding company. I don’t own the majority of the company anymore, but I am still very significantly invested in the future of Cigar City Brewing, only now I have partners with the technical and operational know-how to sustain our growth.” ...more