Luke’s Lobster (“Luke’s” or the “Company”), the beloved Portland, Maine-based sustainable seafood brand known for its award-winning lobster rolls, has welcomed a new strategic partner. Almanac Insights (“Almanac”), founded and managed by David Barber (Co-Founder and Owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns), made a strategic investment in Luke’s, seeking to propel the vertically-integrated seafood brand to greater heights as consumers evolve in the ways they consume seafood.
Luke’s is a Certified B Corp that, since its 2009 founding, has sought to be a positive force of change in the seafood industry. The Company sells only sustainably-harvested seafood which they trace back to the fishermen and harbors they buy from directly; Luke’s invests heavily in these communities and associated environmental initiatives. During the pandemic, Luke’s rapidly grew its grocery footprint, started a direct-to-consumer seafood business and doggedly pursued environmental and social initiatives despite the unique challenges of the time.
Almanac is a highly selective group that invests exclusively in companies making transformative changes to how we eat and access food. Barber and the Almanac team bring deep experience in hospitality, consumer packaged goods, and regional food systems that fits perfectly with Luke’s Lobster’s omni-channel growth strategy.
As a third-generation lobsterman, Luke’s Founder and CEO Luke Holden is excited for the opportunity ahead for the Company and industry. “2020 was incredibly painful and stressful, but it reaffirmed that we have a strong brand, loyal customer base, and nimble team that can innovate around obstacles and toward opportunities. Adding Almanac as a strategic partner is a huge shot in the arm as we seek to bring sustainable seafood to more people, and pursue our mission of being the world’s most respected seafood brand.”
“I’ve tracked Luke’s from the first time they sold lobster rolls at Stone Barns’ Harvest Fest in 2011, and I’ve always been impressed by their strong brand and the unfailing taste and sustainability of their food,” says Barber. “In getting to know their team, I see a rare balance of ambition, creativity, and commitment to a higher purpose, which is the exact blend we look for in a management team.”
Almanac becomes the second outside investor in Luke’s Lobster, joining Quilvest Capital Partners (“Quilvest”), a leading family office investment firm that partnered with the Company in 2016. “We’re incredibly proud of the accomplishments of the Luke’s team thus far in our partnership with the business, from how they’ve grown their shack footprint, to their expansion into CPG, to their incredible pivot to e-commerce,” says Jay Takefman, Partner and Co-Head of Lead Private Equity at Quilvest. “The addition of Almanac to this team will further catalyze both execution and innovation as the Company continues to redefine the landscape of sustainable seafood.” Funds from Almanac’s investment will fuel growth in all Luke’s Lobster’s verticals, including lobster shack growth throughout the US and abroad, as well as continued branded grocery and e-commerce development. Holden’s family and co-founder Ben Conniff continue to own the majority of the Company.
ABOUT LUKE’S LOBSTER
Founded in 2009, Luke’s Lobster is a vertically-integrated seafood company and restaurant group dedicated to producing the best tasting seafood, transparently sourced from fishermen committed to sustainability. Luke’s Lobster’s Saco, Maine-based processing facility buys lobster, crab, and other seafood directly from fishermen and works collaboratively with them to return more value to the shore. In 2018, Luke’s Lobster became a Certified B Corp, memorializing its long-standing commitment to sustainability and its stakeholders. Founded by third-generation lobsterman and Maine native Luke Holden, Luke’s Lobster has 20 shacks nationally including its flagship location in Portland, Maine, and 11 shacks internationally in Japan and Singapore. Luke’s sells frozen branded grocery items such as lobster meat, lobster cakes, and lobster mac and cheese in grocery stores nationwide and was named the Whole Foods Market Global Supplier of the Year. In 2020, Luke’s launched an e-commerce platform to offer a growing variety of sustainable seafood to home cooks throughout the US, delivered to their doorstep. For more information, visit lukeslobster.com
ABOUT QUILVEST CAPITAL PARTNERS
Quilvest Capital Partners is the multi-strategy alternatives division of the Quilvest Group. The Quilvest Group was formed in 1917 to manage the holdings of the Bemberg family, the founders of Quilmes Brewery, Argentina's largest brewery. The Quilvest Group has evolved alongside seven generations of the Bemberg family into a global, multi-family office with $38 billion in assets under management and over a century of experience in wealth management and alternative investing. With approximately $6 billion in assets under management and a global platform spanning North America, Europe and Asia, Quilvest Capital Partners focuses on partnering with exceptional entrepreneurs to accelerate growth of middle-market companies. Quilvest Capital Partners' Buyouts Group takes majority or influential minority positions in businesses with a strong track record of profitable growth, leveraging the pioneering heritage and innovative spirit that has helped shape the Quilvest Group's multiple investment platforms over the last century. For more information, please visit www.quilvestcapitalpartners.com
ABOUT ALMANAC INSIGHTS
Committed to acting as a positive force in the food ecosystem, Almanac invests in a limited number of hospitality, CPG, and food system technology companies. Almanac engages founders making transformative change across the industry, primarily to how we eat and access food. With deep experience in both regional food system development and hospitality, Almanac looks to make meaningful connections and provide key strategic support for our portfolio.