Kansas City, Mo.
Owned by: Duvel Moortgat Brewery, Breendonk, Belgium The sale of Boulevard to Duvel for between $110 million and $120 million last month was a shocker for beer fans and Kansas City alike, but it could have been much worse. Before this, Duvel shipped roughly 70,000 barrels of beer a year in the U.S., with half of that coming from Ommegang. Boulevard Brewing, meanwhile, is expected to ship 190,000 barrels in the U.S. this year. Boulevard is the 12th-largest craft brewer in the nation, according to the Brewers Association, and the 19th-largest brewer by volume in all of the U.S. Since beginning operations in 1989, Boulevard has expanded distribution through 24 states and the District of Columbia. It has a huge presence in the Midwest and coverage throughout the mountain states and West Coast. It should give Duvel a broader U.S. distribution footprint and make Boulevard and Ommegang beers far more accessible. More importantly, it should bring Boulevard's 60-Acre Hoppy Wheat, Bully Porter and Unfiltered Wheat to a larger audience. Boulevard has been one of the good guys and has only advanced craft beer as a whole by growing its brand and encroaching on the big brewers' turf by taking one of the Kansas City Royals' official beer sponsorships and plastering its name all over Kaufmann Stadium. By selling to Duvel rather than one of those big brewers, owner John McDonald ensured that Boulevard will remain the beer his city loved and keep people at the brewery there employed. It won't be "American" anymore, but being run by a family-owned company that cares about its beer and being brewed in Kansas City by longtime Boulevard employees might just be the next best thing. -- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/notteham. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.