The brewing giant has bought a 50% stake in the brewer, which is the fifth largest in the US and makes popular beer Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’.
The move has prompted an outcry from beer fans on Twitter with one online critic tweeting: “It feels like the too hip to sell beer brands are selling out faster than anyone.”
Masterchef winner Tim Anderson tweeted that the acquisition further complicates the already murky term ‘craft’ beer.
“Every time a brewery gets bought like this, it drives the point home that craft is a totally bogus term.”
Lagunitas founder Tony Magee took to his blog following the announcement, describing the acquisition was a ‘historic opportunity for American-born craft brewing’ and defending claims Lagunitas was having its cake and eating it.
“We met a company that saw and understood that we could only work together if we could continue as we are, steering our own ship here and abroad. What grew from these conversations was an opportunity like none other to date: an open door to a planet filled with beer lovers. One beer writer commented to me that he was struggling with the ‘having our cake and eating it’ quality of this relationship but that’s exactly what we have achieved.”
Heineken said the venture would allow the company to join in the craft beer boom while bringing Lagunitas around the world.
Lagunitas has been courted by major brewing companies before. Posting on Twitter in 2013, Magee said he had been wined and dined by an A B InBev executive and would ‘rather die on payroll’ than sell the brewery to them.