Short’s Brewing Co. Announces Partnership with Lagunitas Brewing Co.

Elk Rapids, Mich. – Short’s Brewing Company of Bellaire and Elk Rapids, MI announces plans to partner with The Lagunitas Brewing Company based in Petaluma, CA, America’s ninth largest brewery.  

The partnership stems from Short’s desire to successfully navigate the ever-evolving craft market while maintaining its creatively fearless identity. Lagunitas’ 19.99% equity stake in Short’s will be managed by Lagunitas U.S. Holdings — or LUSH. The founding principle of LUSH is to build relationships with, and support, regional breweries. In keeping with this, Short’s will maintain their individual brand image while gaining additional resources for continued opportunity to invest in Short’s staff, the Northern Michigan community, and opportunities to push the boundaries of creativity.

Joe Short stated, ”I never imagined Short’s would become such a successful regional brewery. The secret to that success has always been to surround myself with good people. The best people; who in many ways are smarter and more talented than myself. I’m confident all successful businesses would tell you a similar story. This partnership with Lagunitas is just another part of evolution in the cycle of our dynamic and growing business. I’ve grown so much personally and professionally during my time at the helm of Short’s Brewing Company that I understand now, more than ever – the continued success of Short’s and its people rely on me to make smart and strategic decisions. This is just one of them. 

When asked about the partnership between Short’s and Lagunitas, Lagunitas’ founder, Tony Magee, stated, “Having Joe and Scott and all their talented people joining up with the LUSH group is mostly cool but also kinda weird. Have you met those guys? I thought Bellaire was in Canada…

The craft brewing community has always focused on relationships, and Short’s is excited for the opportunity to be a part of the LUSH community. “Pride, passion, and love of the work will always remain paramount. I’m super excited and proud because for the first time EVER, we’ll be operating without restriction, experiencing what true independence feels like,” stated Short. “I really admire Tony. His vision and level of understanding of the industry is fascinating to me. With his ability to share Lagunitas’ 24 years of experience, this partnership is going to bring some serious awesomeness to the people of Short’s.


27 thoughts on “Short’s Brewing Co. Announces Partnership with Lagunitas Brewing Co.”

  1. John Lowe says:

    Awesome guys! Does this mean I will finally be able to get Shorts beer in Oregon? Instead of having my cousin mail me some from Ohio.

  2. Tony M says:

    So what you are really saying is Heineken bought a 19.99% equity stake in Short’s?

    1. Short's Brewing Company says:

      We haven’t ever worked with or spoken directly to Heineken. Short’s has sold a minority interest to LUSH, Lagunitas US Holdings. While Lagunitas is owned by Heineken, Heineken does not run Lagunitas day to day, and Lagunitas does not have a controlling interest in Short’s. We are certainly not denying the connection, but our partnership is with LUSH.

  3. Dan Carlson says:

    Lagunitas is 100% owned by Heineken. Sellouts, what happened to “Michigan only Michigan forever”?

    1. Short's Brewing Company says:

      We haven’t ever worked with or spoken directly to Heineken. Short’s has sold a minority interest to LUSH, Lagunitas US Holdings. While Lagunitas is owned by Heineken, Heineken does not run Lagunitas day to day, and Lagunitas does not have a controlling interest in Short’s. We are certainly not denying the connection, but our partnership is with LUSH.

      As we’re sure you can understand, a lot can change over the course of 13 years. We’re continuously evolving in order to do what’s right for our employees and community while brewing the best, most creative beers possible.

  4. Chris Savant says:

    Yeah!!! Can’t wait to be able to buy Short’s here in California! (Now I don’t have to conserve the Huma I have!!) Congrats!

  5. Jason Pritts says:

    KICK ASS!
    Congratulations!

  6. John Crawford says:

    I am a huge fan of Lagunitas as any fan of great beer would be. That being said I am sure that my beloved Huma will remain the stalwart brew that I have come to know and love. I have shared that beer all over this country with like minded enthusiasts and will continue to do so as my Ideal of the perfect (in your face) IPA. Thank you for the last 14 years Short’s family, you are heroes to us all. May the Shorts be with you….

  7. El Stone says:

    Another great craft brewery sells out. Dress it up and call it a “partnership” if you want if you want. But a huge European conglomerate now owns 20% of a company which was formerly owned and operated 100% in Michigan.

    Really sad.

    1. Short's Brewing Company says:

      Hey El – We’re still operating solely in Northern Michigan. Neither Lagunitas or Heineken will have any say in our day to day operations and we’re still considered independent by the Brewers Association. I hope you’ll come visit us soon and see that we’re still then same people working hard to brew mind-blowing beers.

      1. Anthony says:

        I hear what you are saying. Twenty percent with no control.

        No control does not change the fact that my favorite brewery ever is now partially owned by a mega-brewery.

        Being partially mega-brewery by itself is not a deal killer. However it begs the question of what’s next. Neither side would enter this partnership expecting the status quo to stay the same.

        “No control” does not equal no influence. And influence of this type is rarely best for the consumer. It is only natural for Short’s fans to view this deal with suspicion.

        I personally will wait and see.

        1. Pjsbeerblog/facebook.com says:

          Anthony, as a beer blogger in Minnesota, I have been back and forth on the Lagunitas/Heineken thing. However after talking to my local Lagunitas rep, I feel this is in line with the Independence that Lagunitas still retains.
          Also Heineken is family owned. Lagunitas wanted to send their beer around the world, and there is only one way to do that, partner up with the only family owned brewery that has fingers across the globe.

          Like I said I’m still 50/50 on Lagunitas but these guys are not sell outs, they are just welcoming some help.

          Cheers.

      2. Lance Cain says:

        I got to agree with Mr. Stone on this one. It’s a philosophical issue for me more than anything else. As a long-time supporter of local, craft brewers I prefer to give my money to breweries who retain that profile. Big breweries push out (actual) small breweries in the areas of distribution, retail shelf space, and bar/restaurant tap space and I shudder at the thought that my money (even if it’s only 1/5 of it) goes to support such initiatives.

        I have been to your brewery and was glad I got a chance to before you made this decision. I loved the Ween homages, the food was good, and the variety of dark beers (it was 10 degrees outside) was excellent. Unfortunately based on your decision to join forces with a mega-brewery I won’t be returning.

    2. Ross Schoolmaster says:

      I agree with El. Larry Bell found success, and still owns 100% of his Michigan based business, Blackhawk fan or not, I’ll have a two hearted.

  8. Steve-O says:

    Much love for you guys. Been visiting your fine establishment since 2011 and drinking your fine beer before then. You have certainly had a part in revitalizing Michigan. Congrats to the new partnership!

  9. Ryan White says:

    Michigan Only, Michigan Forever! LOL.

  10. Ryan Gee says:

    You really have come a huge way from “Michigan Only, Michigan Forever”…

    Will you please ask Joe and the rest of the owners how much they hate that they took such a hard stance on something?

    Please ask them if they regret such a dumb tag line and if a tag line was worth losing so many fans for the bottom line?

    In the famous words of Hank Hill ” I am kicking you out of my fridge”

    1. Short's Brewing Company says:

      Hey Ryan,

      We’re sorry to have disappointed you, but in every decision we make, we’re thinking about our employees and our community. As you can imagine, a lot can happen in 13 years and as a business, we’re always evolving. We strive to be as open and honest with our fans as possible during times of chahttps://www.shortsbrewing.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php?comment_status=moderated#comments-formnge.

  11. Chase says:

    Please distribute to CO. Only getting your beer during GABF is really disappointing.

  12. Marc says:

    Dearest Short’s Brewing. The bittersweet day of infamy has arrived. What was once a “Michigan Only, Michigan Forever” brewery has now headed down a path that true fans can not follow. My personal devotion to Short’s has faltered and I begin to realize that what lies at the bottom of such fruitless endeavors is based solely on money.
    Plain and simple, Short’s Brewing Company is now tied with Heineken.
    The core and lifeblood of Short’s was its unique identity, now it will soon be just another brick in the wall. So sad.

  13. Mark Giffin says:

    I am nervous! I would be lying if I said it weren’t true. I hope Short’s stays true to themselves. Short’s is my favorite brewery. Lagunitas is okay, but…WOW I’m just nervous, please don’t change any of your recipes!

    1. Short's Brewing Company says:

      Our beer recipes will not be changing and it will still be brewed by the same people who care so hard in Northern Michigan. We hope you’ll see our commitment to this in the months and years to come.

  14. Lance Cain says:

    Well since my original comment was deleted I guess I’ll just post a link to this and hope that doesn’t get deleted.

    http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/07/28/539760477/craft-beer-brought-to-you-by-big-beer

  15. Howie Mogil says:

    Howie from Chi-town here…Just was in GR MI and stopped at Hop Cat there and had my 1st Huma…if Shorts joining with LUSH-Heinie means they will distribute in Chi-town, I am ready to enjoy…we have gr8 IPAs in Chi, but Huma is out of this world…so thx Shorts and thx MI for sharing!

    1. Short's Brewing Company says:

      Hey Howie,

      Thank you so much for the message. We’re stoked to hear how much you enjoyed your first pint of Huma. While we’re excited about the new opportunities our partnership with LUSH will bring, we’re even more excited to tell you that you can already find Huma Lupa Licious on tap and in bottles in Illinois. If you let us know which area of the city you’re located in, we’d be more than happy to help you find the nearest Huma.

      Cheers!

  16. Mackenzie says:

    Will someone PLEASE respond with whether or not we sad sacks who had to leave Michigan and are stuck in California will be able to buy Shorts out here? The only MI beer I’ve found in NorCal on a regular basis is Founders, which I love, but the idea of having more is incredibly exciting.

    I can understand fans’ frustration of Shorts “selling out” but as a Michigander who’s far from home and just really wants a friggin’ Soft Parade, I’m pretty pumped.

    1. Short's Brewing Company says:

      Hi Mackenzie,

      Thanks for the message! We have no plans to expand our distribution at this time, but we appreciate the sentiment. If we ever begin distribution in California, we’ll be sure to post about it on our social media channels.

      Cheers!

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