Brown Jug Comes Home: Afognak Native Corporation Purchases Alaska Retail Chain
The newly remodeled Independence Park Brown Jug store in Anchorage.
For the first time in twelve years, Brown Jug, a retail sales business headquartered for most of its eighty-three-year history in Alaska, is coming home. Afognak Native Corporation (Afognak) is pleased to announce it has purchased the heritage brand—most recently owned by Alcanna Inc., a publicly traded Canadian Company based out of Edmonton, Alberta. The acquisition, effective June 1, 2020, will bring stability to Afognak’s subsidiary portfolio through diversification, enhanced profitability, and the potential to provide increased job opportunities for shareholders, among other benefits.
Brown Jug operates one warehouse and twenty-one stores in Anchorage, Eagle River, Wasilla, and Fairbanks and is Alaska’s first and largest retailer of fine wines, spirits, and beer. The retail chain was originally owned by a multigenerational Alaskan family, the O’Neills, who owned and operated the business for more than fifty years before selling to a large Canadian company in 2008. Brown Jug now employs 218 Alaskans and generates more than $80 million in annual revenues.
“Brown Jug was born and raised in Alaska and remains one of the state’s most well-known brands,” says Greg Hambright, president and CEO of Afognak. “The company has built and maintained a solid reputation by providing quality customer service, great selection, and competitive prices while also leading the industry in responsible retail and ensuring social responsibility and community involvement and engagement.” Afognak intends to uphold the Brown Jug reputation as well as use this new platform as an opportunity to be a responsible leader in the community for retail sales.
Adding retail sales will increase Afognak’s commercial operations revenue from 2 percent to 12 percent, which shifts government contracting from 98 percent to 88 percent going forward. This move further underscores the value of stability and diversification as the world battles a global pandemic and struggles with a decimated economy.
In response to the acquisition, Alcanna Vice Chair and CEO James Burns said, “On behalf of the board of directors and management of Alcanna, I want to extend a special thank you to everyone on the Brown Jug team for such incredible service to Brown Jug and Alcanna over the years. With this sale, Alcanna has now completed exiting US markets and can focus our investment and management attention on opportunities in Canada.”
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Alaska Business has been celebrating the corporations that have a significant impact on Alaska’s economy since 1993. At the time, the corporations weren’t ranked as the list didn’t have specific ranking criteria. Instead, the Alaska Business editorial team held long, detailed, and occasionally passionate discussions about which organizations around the state were providing jobs, owned or leased property, used local vendors, demonstrated a high level of community engagement, and in general enriched Alaska.