Boulevard Brewing Founder Sells Majority Stake To Belgian Brewer Duvel

Boulevard Brewing Co., the Kansas City-based craft brewery that has grown into one of the country’s largest since its inception in 1989, is being sold to Belgian brewer Duvel Moortgat.

John McDonald, who started Boulevard in 1989 with used equipment in a warehouse along Southwest Boulevard, is selling his majority stake in the company, which has grown to become the 12th ranked craft brewer in the nation with 125 employees. The brewery produces 185,000 barrels of beer and sells it in 25 states, the District of Columbia and Scandinavia.

Duvel, a 142-year-old family brewery, sells about 750,000 barrels of beer annually and employs 900 people.

McDonald, who will have a seat on the Duvel board of directors, said the current management team at Boulevard would remain intact. Duvel is expected to assign some management staff to Kansas City. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

McDonald, now 60, said he has been taking a hard look at the future of the brewery for a couple of years. He began talks with Duvel about three months ago.

“I’ve done the right thing for the brewery, for me, for our employees and Kansas City,” McDonald said. “We’ll make more beer and keep employing people.”

Boulevard became the largest domestically owned brewery in Missouri when Belgian giant InBev purchased St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch in 2008. McDonald said Boulevard’s deal with Duvel is different from the A-B InBev merger.

“This is not what happened in St. Louis [with Anheuser Busch and InBev], it’s totally different,” he said. “We will add jobs and investment and not cut two-thirds of our work force. [Duvel is] very collaborative.

“We’re going to be partners going forward, but they will have control.”

Read more from the Kansas City Star and the Kansas City Business Journal

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