Lagunitas Brewing Company

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Lagunitas Brewing Company
Industry Alcoholic beverage
Founded 1993
Founder Tony Magee
Headquarters Petaluma, California, US
Products Beer
Production output
916,420 US beer barrels (1,075,400 hL)[1]
Owner Heineken International

The Lagunitas Brewing Company is a brewery founded in 1993 in Lagunitas, California.

The company is completely owned by Heineken International,[2] and it is known for iconoclastic interpretations of traditional beer styles, and irreverent descriptive text and stories on its packaging.

Lagunitas Brewing was the fifth top selling craft brewery in the US in 2013.[3] In 2017 it became the third best selling craft beer in the US.


The brewery was founded in 1993 by Tony Magee in Lagunitas, California, and moved a year later to nearby Petaluma, California, when they quickly outgrew their original rural West Marin location.[4]

Since the mid-2000s, Lagunitas has been one of the fastest-growing craft breweries in the United States, increasing from 27,000 barrels in 2004[5] to 106,000 barrels in 2010.[6] In March 2011, the company had 92 employees with distribution in 32 states.[5] The brewery announced a $9.5 million expansion slated to begin early 2012 which increased its brewing capacity to 600,000 barrels.[5]

On April 9, 2012, Lagunitas announced plans for a new Chicago-based brewery equipped with a 250 barrel brew house which will also have a 600,000 barrel capacity.[7] In May 2012 it was announced that owner Tony Magee had signed a lease for a location in the city's Douglas Park neighborhood in North Lawndale, "that will put him in a space owned by film studio Cinespace...for at least 20 years."[8][9] The Chicago brewery started producing beer on April 18, 2014, and opened an on-premises taproom a few months thereafter.[10] A third brewery is being built in Azusa, CA to be in full production by spring of 2018. This brewery will have an ultimate productive brewing capacity of 1,900,000 barrels.

On September 8, 2015, Lagunitas announced that Heineken International would acquire a 50% stake in the company to help it expand its operations globally.[11] As a result of the deal, Lagunitas was no longer considered a craft brewery under the Brewers Association definition of "craft," since Heineken's stake was greater than 25%. Less than two years later, on May 4, 2017, Heineken purchased the remaining portion of Lagunitas, making it the sole owner of the brewery.[12] Founder Tony Magee will continue as CEO of Lagunitas, with the intention of expanding production and distribution of Lagunitas beers worldwide.[13]

Cannabis associations[edit]

The brewery has long-standing associations with cannabis, which have at times caused legal problems.

Some beers have had names associated with the drug, in one case resulting in a name being banned,[a] using the number 420 in internal materials and external advertising,[b] and having a weekly party with cannabis.[14] The use of 420 for marketing and the smoking at parties has stopped for legal reasons.

On Saint Patrick's Day in 2005, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control served a twenty-day suspension of operations to investigate alleged cannabis dealing by employees. Officers had staked out the brewery to observe people supposedly consuming on premises. No charges were filed; Magee admits "no one was willing to sell it to them, but everyone was willing to give it to them for free." The ordeal was eventually commemorated with a beer named Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale.[15]

Lagunitas dropped '420' from its labels in 2013 after a trademark claim by Sweetwater Brewing Company.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Censored was original called "the Kronik", which was banned by the BATF as a cannabis reference (see The Chronic), while The Waldos' Special Ale is released on 4/20 and formerly featured 420 in its branding.
  2. ^ Production numbers have ended in 420, rather than being an even thousand, since 2004.


  1. ^ Marotti, Ally (2015-04-23). "Foreign beer drinkers are craving Chicago brew. Hard". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved 2015-10-28. Craft beer exports increased 35.7 percent to $99.7 million in 2014, according to the Brewers Association. That equals more than 383,000 barrels of exported beer in 2014. To put that into perspective, that's just more than half of the 640,000 barrels Lagunitas produces in its Douglas Park brewery each year. 
  2. ^ "Heineken Acquires Remaining Stake in Lagunitas Brewing Company" OTC Markets, May 04, 2015
  3. ^ "Top Craft Breweries In America: Brewers Association Names 50 Best-Selling-Companies" (PDF). 
  4. ^ Cynthia Liu (2004-09-24). "Lagunitas Brewing Co. says pit bull label proving no dog". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-02-18. 
  5. ^ a b c Digitale, Robert. Lagunitas Brewing undertakes big expansion. The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa). March 20, 2011. Retrieved 2011-3-21.
  6. ^ Quackenbush, Jeff. Lagunitas plans $9.5 million expansion The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa). March 15, 2011. Retrieved 2011-5-18.
  7. ^ Adam Nason (2012-04-09). "Lagunitas Brewing to open new brewery in Chicago". Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  8. ^ "Lagunitas to open brewery in Chicago". Chicago Tribune. 2012-04-11. 
  9. ^ Noel, Josh (22 May 2012). "Lagunitas signs Chicago lease, targets November taproom opening". Chicago Tribune Entertainment. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  10. ^ Hirst, Ellen Jean (April 18, 2014). "Lagunitas Brewery Officially Opens Chicago Operation", Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 18, 2014.
  11. ^ John Kell, "Heineken buys 50% stake in craft brewer Lagunitas", Fortune, September 10, 2015
  12. ^ Swindell, Bill (4 May 2017). "Heineken buys remaining 50 percent interest in Lagunitas Brewing Co". The Press Democrat. Sonoma Media Investments, LLC. Retrieved 5 May 2017. Heineken is buying Lagunitas in a deal to help propel the craft beer sector globally amid a rapidly changing industry. 
  13. ^ Mobley, Esther (4 May 2017). "Heineken deal could raise Lagunitas' global profile". SFGate. Retrieved 5 May 2017. Growth in international markets, and a desire to start a new stage in his professional life, spurred Magee's decision to sell. 
  14. ^ "A song of beer and weed". 
  15. ^ Callahan, Mary (15 May 2006). "State investigation leads Lagunitas to create new ale". Press Democrat. Retrieved 8 May 2015. 
  16. ^ Scully, Sean (July 10, 2013). "Lagunitas Brewing Co. to drop '420' marijuana slang from labels in trademark dispute". Press Democrat. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°16′21″N 122°39′45″W / 38.27250°N 122.66250°W / 38.27250; -122.66250