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Craft Beer Times | Funky Buddha and Four Corners Return to Original Owners Amid Craft Beer Shake-Up

Funky Buddha and Four Corners Return to Original Owners Amid Craft Beer Shake-Up

Funky Buddha and Four Corners Return to Original Owners Amid Craft Beer Shake-Up

The Shake-Up in the Craft Beer Industry

Constellation Brands Pulls out of the Craft Beer Market

The craft beer industry has undergone significant changes in recent years. With consumer preferences shifting towards local and artisanal brews, the market has seen an explosion of independent breweries. However, the big beer giants have not been idle in the face of this disruption. Major players like Constellation Brands, Anheuser-Busch InBev, and MillerCoors have all invested heavily in the craft beer space, acquiring popular breweries and expanding their presence.

But in a surprise move, Constellation Brands recently announced its exit from the craft beer industry. The company, which owns brands like Corona and Modelo, had bought several craft breweries over the years, including Florida-based Funky Buddha and Texas-based Four Corners. However, after struggling to maintain sales and profitability in this segment, Constellation Brands has decided to sell off its craft beer portfolio.

Original Owners Return to the Fold

This news has sent ripples throughout the craft beer community, with many wondering what will happen to the breweries that Constellation Brands had acquired. But for the original owners of Funky Buddha and Four Corners, this marks a remarkable opportunity. In a twist of fate, the founders of these breweries will be buying back their businesses from Constellation Brands.

For Ryan Sentz and KC Sentz, the co-founders of Funky Buddha, this homecoming is especially meaningful. The brewery was originally started in 2010 by the Sentz brothers and their friend Vincent “Vinnie” Cilurzo. The trio built Funky Buddha from the ground up, earning a loyal fanbase for their creative and flavorful brews. However, in 2017, the brewery was sold to Constellation Brands for an undisclosed sum. While Ryan Sentz and KC Sentz continued to work with the brewery in advisory roles, they missed being at the helm of the operation.

Now, with Constellation Brands relinquishing its ownership, the Sentz brothers have a chance to reclaim their legacy. In a statement to the press, Ryan Sentz expressed his excitement at the prospect of returning to Funky Buddha: “We built this brewery with our blood, sweat, and tears. And while we’re proud of what we accomplished with Constellation, we’re looking forward to having full creative control over our brand once again.”

Similarly, Sean Gaulager, the founder of Four Corners, is eager to take back his brewery from Constellation Brands. Four Corners, which opened in 2012, quickly gained a following for its Texas-inspired beers and eclectic taproom. However, after being purchased by Constellation Brands in 2018, Gaulager found himself at odds with the new management over the direction of the brewery. With the sale of Four Corners back to its original owner, Gaulager is hopeful for the future. “We have big plans for Four Corners,” he says. “We want to get back to our roots and bring our community together over great beer.”

What Does the Future Hold?

With the original owners once again in control, fans of Funky Buddha and Four Corners are excited to see what the future holds for these breweries. But beyond that, what does this shake-up signify for the craft beer industry as a whole? Is this a sign of consolidation, with the big beer companies retreating from the artisanal space? Or is it a testament to the resilience of independent brewers, who are able to weather even the biggest challenges?

Only time will tell, but for now, the return of the original owners to Funky Buddha and Four Corners is a heartening development. As Ryan Sentz puts it, “We’re not just getting our brewery back, we’re getting our family back.” And in a world that often seems cold and corporate, that’s something worth celebrating.


Dustin is a writer about craft beer and a professional brewer in the city of Chicago. He has written for several magazines and has over a decade of experience in the beer industry. He is currently working on a book about the history of beer in Chicago.

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