Craft beverage equipment suppliers merge in $100m deal to create ‘one-stop-shop’

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Pic:getty/urbancow
Pic:getty/urbancow

Related tags processing Packaging Canning RTD alcohol Cocktails hard cider Cold brew coffee Wine

Lotus Beverage Alliance, a collective of six US craft beverage equipment manufacturing companies, has officially launched as a company.

The suppliers have merged in a $100m deal announced this morning: boasting combined capabilities that enable beverage manufacturers of all sizes to access ‘the most comprehensive array of products spanning every step of production for craft beer, wine, hard cider, spirits, cold brew coffee, ready-to-drink cocktails, kombucha, CBD/THC-infused drinks, and sake beverages.’

The six merged companies - Alpha Brewing Operations, GW Kent, Twin Monkeys, Stout Tanks and Kettles, Brewmation, and Automated Extractions – bring their equipment, infrastructure and technology together under one roof to become ‘the only end-to-end provider dedicated to crafting possibilities for beverage makers, from nationally-distributed beverage purveyors to the everyday craft enthusiast.’

Helping craft beverage makers diversify portfolios

The new alliance has been formed in the context of diversification across the industry: for example with many brewers who were once entrenched in craft beer now looking to extend their portfolio beyond beer.

And so one of the focuses of the new entity will be to help craft beverage makers diversify their product lines and get new beverages to market faster, says the company's CEO John Ansbro, an industry veteran with more than 30 years of experience in equipment manufacturing (including executive positions at Alfa Laval, Johnson Controls and GEA Group).

"We are very excited about the craft beverage industry as a whole," he told BeverageDaily.

"Currently the beer and wine market segment accounts for 80% of our current turnover which has had strong and stable growth.

"There is significant opportunity in the craft beverage market that represents the remaining 20% of our turnover including coffee, ready to drink (RTD) cocktails, kombucha, hard seltzer and an emerging beverage segment - alcohol free beverages."

Lotus has been set up to offer the essential infrastructure and technology for many craft beverages.

It produces 1,500+ top-shelf products, including turn-key brewhouse production equipment, 304 stainless steel conical fermenters, brew kettles, IBC totes, multi-capacity tanks, mash tuns, brite tanks, canning systems, automation and control systems, packaging, thermal processes and sanitation equipment, raw ingredient supply, parts, and more.

"Our collective team of founders has over 75 years of experience and professional insight into the craft beverage industry," said Ansbro.

"The organization was formed to bring excitement and resources to craft brewing companies by providing an advanced and comprehensive product line, knowledgeable technical guidance, immediate equipment and parts availability, and an excellent customer service team. 

"By merging six companies together, Lotus is pooling together the R&D resources and the collective experience of its founders that enables Lotus the increased bandwidth to take on new opportunities," he continued.

"The ability to quickly identify and integrate attractive beverages based on growing consumer trends and preferences will be a decisive factor in the long-term success of every beverage company and Lotus understands that beverage manufacturers need to be able to adapt their product portfolios in an agile way."

Proprietary financing program

LOTUS Beverage Alliance offers support for startups and scale-ups, including:

  • Brewing and Distilling
  • Quick Ship Equipment and Parts
  • Packaging
  • Automation and Controls
  • Extraction Processing
  • Beverage Production Support

The company will be exhibiting at Specialty Coffee Expo in Portland, Oregon, Apr. 21–23; and at the Craft Brewers Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, May 7-10, 2023.

Claiming another industry first, Lotus has also introduced a proprietary financing program that offers customers affordable financing options, removing cost barriers for startups and smaller beverage producers (Credit approvals typically take less than 24 hours).

Following the six-way merger, the Lotus Beverage Alliance ownership structure includes the founders from all six businesses. Additionally, the company has implemented an employee ownership program, at no cost to the employees, which is extended to all employees. 

“Research has shown that broad-based employee ownership programs improve worker retention, reduce income disparity, and result in higher margins, as well as improved growth and operating efficiencies across various aspects of a business,” says the company.

The Lotus merger was facilitated by Ronin Equity Partners, a New York-based investment firm, which is also an investor in the company.

The five founders of the six companies will remain in senior leadership positions at LOTUS: Matt Rennerfeldt, John Watt, Kevin Weaver, Josh Van Riper, and Randy Reichwage. 

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