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Minneapolis, Minnesota Local News

Finnegans Brew Co. in Minneapolis buys non-alcoholic brewer Hairless Dog


Finnegans Brew Co. has acquired Hairless Dog Brewing, a Minneapolis-based non-alcoholic beer company.

“This adds a great new element to our portfolio, and they have a huge following,” said Finnegans CEO Jacquie Berglund. “They needed to grow and expand and have added resources, and we are able to do that for them.”

By bringing on the fast-growing brand, Finnegans will double its yearly output to 5,000 barrels of beer, she said.

Hairless Dog co-founders Paul Pirner and Jeff Hollander started the company in 2016. Unlike the standard method of brewing beer and removing alcohol, Hairless Dog brews do not introduce alcohol.

“When we started Hairless Dog, there was a stigma around drinking non-alcoholic beer, but we took that challenge head on to create a one-of-a-kind product that is inclusive and offers choices of good quality flavors to people who still love the taste of beer, just without the alcohol,” Pirner said in a news release.

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Financial terms of the recently completed deal were not disclosed.

Berglund expects to have the flagship Hairless Dog flavors — IPA, citra lager and black ale — available in cans in the downtown Minneapolis taproom and at retailers nationwide this month. She also hinted at new flavors to come and the possibility of getting the N/A brews on tap for Dry January.

Other than noting “brewed at Finnegans” on the cans, the branding will remain the same.

“We really like the branding, and the big loyal following that comes with it,” Berglund said.

Hairless Dog sells direct to consumers online and gained national distribution in 2019 through Total Wine & More, but it has not been able to keep up with growing demand.

“There was a huge underserved market before Hairless Dog,” Pirner said. “We have been overwhelmed with the support and loyalty of our customers.”

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The non-alcoholic beer market has seen rapid growth in recent years, much of it due to new offerings from traditional breweries and N/A-focused startups like Athletic Brewing Co.

“Consumers who want to reduce alcohol consumption no longer have to compromise on taste because the overall quality of no-alcohol alternatives has improved over time,” according to a recent report from Future Market Insights, which estimates the global N/A beer market at $20 billion.

St. Paul-based ABV Technology, which several dozen Minnesota breweries partner with to make non-alcoholic versions of their beer, recently expanded to the East Coast. Meanwhile, national craft brands like Deshcutes, Lagunitas and Dogfish Head have brought N/A beers to Minnesota.

Finnegans was founded in 2000 with a charity-focused mission, and it moved into a downtown Minneapolis taproom and brewery in 2018.

“It has been a great adventure, and we love continuing to innovate,” Berglund said. “We need to stay relevant and provide what the customer wants.”

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