Nation & World

Lagunitas lays off 12 percent of workforce

Growing craft beer market faces pressure

Chicago Tribune/TNS

Brewery operations are shown in progress during a tour of its Chicago brewery in 2015.
Chicago Tribune/TNS Brewery operations are shown in progress during a tour of its Chicago brewery in 2015.

CHICAGO — Facing pressure from an increasingly crowded craft beer market, Lagunitas Brewing announced this week it will fire 12 percent of its workforce, more than 100 employees companywide.

The California-based brewer, which operates a production plant in Chicago, posted a letter on its website from CEO Maria Stipp explaining the decision, which affects all departments across the country.

“The craft beer market is rapidly evolving and, in many ways, more challenging,” Stipp said. “We are dedicated to weathering the storm, to continue to be successful both in the U.S. and globally.

“In order to do that, we took difficult but necessary actions.”

The company has about 900 employees across the country, Lagunitas spokeswoman Katie Brown said Thursday.

Employees were notified Tuesday, according to the letter.

There were 6,665 active craft breweries as of June 30, up from 5,562 last year, a nearly 20 percent year-over-year increase, according to the Brewers Association. Another 2,500 to 3,000 craft breweries are in planning, the association said.

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