SAN DIEGO – Japanese beer maker Sapporo Holdings Ltd. will acquire Stone Brewing in a major deal expected to bolster the footprint of both brands in the U.S. market, the companies announced Thursday.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is estimated to be in the range of $165 million for the subsidiary Sapporo U.S.A. to purchase the highly recognizable Escondido-based brewery, which was founded in 1996. The deal is expected to close by August.

In a statement, Greg Koch, the brewery’s co-founder and executive chairman, called the decision “the right next chapter for Stone Brewing.”

“For 26 years, our amazing team has worked tirelessly to brew beers that have set trends and redefined expectations,” Koch said. “To have the interest of a company like Sapporo in continuing the Stone story is a testament to the great beers we’ve created and will continue to create for our fans across the globe.”   

Under the deal, Sapporo said it plans to produce its branded beers for distribution in the U.S. in Stone’s breweries in Escondido and Richmond, Virginia. Stone will continue to brew its beers there as well and plans to keep operating its seven tap rooms and World Bistro & Gardens locations, according to the release.

Sapporo noted the move is about fostering growth, now intending to brew 360,000 barrels in the U.S. by the end of 2024, while preserving “Stone’s legacy, culture and innovative approach to craft brewing.”

“We approached Stone Brewing seeking a partner for our growth plans in the U.S, and we quickly recognized they were an ideal partner with bi-coastal brewing capacity, loyal fans, superb management, shared cultural values, and commitment to the highest quality standards,” Sapporo U.S.A. Chairman Kenny Sadai said. “This acquisition puts the resources and legacy of the largest Asian beer brand in America together with one of the most innovative and recognized craft beer brands in the world.

“It’s a perfect fusion of east meets west that is an ideal marriage for Sapporo’s long-term growth strategy in the U.S.”  

The acquisition does not include Stone’s distribution business, which will become an independent company under its current ownership.