California Brewing Companies Merge To Become Largest Black-Owned Brewery In The U.S.


April 13, 2023

They’re expanding the company imprint!

Arthur Moye is the CEO of Full Circle Brewing, a Fresno-based company that’s been around since 2000, Shoppe Black reports. Moye took over ownership in 2016, selling his accounting business and getting into the beer business. Under his leadership, Full Circle has reached more than 2,100 barrels, increasing their beer volume and acquiring Bay Area-based brewery Sonoma Cider in 2020. Full Circle has a diverse portfolio of fruit flavored beers and focuses on merging brewing with live entertainment. Now the company has merged with San Francisco based company, Speakeasy Ales & Lager, becoming the largest Black-owned brewery in the United States. 

“We are excited to apply what we learned from revitalizing Full Circle and increasing sales by 5,000% to San Francisco’s longest-running independent brewery. We plan to breathe new life into current brands and expand its range of products,” Moye told reporters.



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Speakeasy was founded in 1997, production declining significantly from more than 30,000 barrels in 2015 to just over 2,000 in 2018. CEO Ces Butner acquired the company out of receivership in 2018, rebuilding Speakeasy’s distribution arm and producing 5,000 barrels by 2021. The former owner of Oakland’s Horizon Beverage, Butner is a veteran in the industry, selling Horizon to Anheuser-Busch InBev in 2015. With the new merger, Full Circle will expand their imprint to include Speakeasy’s traditional ales and lagers, the combined company expected to produce more than 20,000 barrels or nearly 350,000 cases annually. 

Butner says he’s excited about the merger and the possibilities of this new venture for future Black-owned brewers in the country. Both companies will maintain their individual distribution chains and are currently attempting to decide where the new Speakeasy products will be produced. 

“I am excited for the passing of the baton to the next generation of Black entrepreneurs in the craft beer space. I will continue to sit on the advisory board and look forward to seeing the Speakeasy brand grow and evolve,” said Butner. 


Congratulations gentlemen!

Cover photo: California brewing companies merge to become largest Black-owned brewery in the U.S./Full Circle CEO Arthur Moye/Photo Courtesy of @ArtMoye/Instagram

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