Posted in Anheuser-Busch, Asahi Brewing, Headlines

Asahi buys five European AB InBev brands for $7.8 billion

Leuven, Belgium based AB InBev is selling five eastern European brands to Asahi.

Five brands are involved in the deal, including Pilsner Urquell (Czech Republic), Tyskie and Lech (Poland), Dreher (Hungary), and Ursus (Romania).

Each of the brands were owned by SABMiler before AB InBev’s $100 billion takeover, finalized this fall.

Besides their brands that bear their own name, Asahi Breweries purchased Tsingtao from AB InBev in 2009, and London based Meantime Brewery, Grolsch and Peroni from SABMiller earlier this year.

Asasi has apparently been shopping the eastern European market for years. The purchase is the largest to date by Asahi, who seeking to become a stronger player in the global beer market.

Posted in Anheuser-Busch, Aquisitions, Headlines

AB InBev acquires Northern Brewer

AB InBev acquires Northern Brewer

Anheuser-Busch InBev acquires something a little different this week. Homebrew supplies. The global brewery has acquired Northern Brewer.

Northern Brewer was founded 23 years ago by Chris Farley (not the actor). Since then the homebrew supply group has grown to one of the largest in the United States, posting $10’s of millions in annual revenue.

Farley has confirmed that Northern Brewer has been acquired by ZX Ventures, the “global disruptive growth unit” of Anheuser-Busch InBev. The details of the transaction have not been disclosed.

Farley states in a message on the Northern Brewer site:

First, nothing will fundamentally change as the result of this deal. Our entire leadership team will remain intact and our company will continue to be independent. Our staff of dedicated employees will continue to serve our customers and help our industry innovate. Our culture will remain as it is today: vibrant, energetic, fair and dedicated to our mission and to you.

From here, Farley goes on to say this sale will bring “unparalleled opportunities.” What those are exactly, have not been divulged by the company.

Northern Brewer’s leadership will remain intact, as will all the current employees – for now.

What ZX Ventures, and AB InBev will do with Northern Brewer remains to be seen.


Posted in Anheuser-Busch, Headlines

Anheuser Busch acquires Italy’s Birra del Borgo

Anheuser Busch has reached terms to acquire Italy’s Birra del Borgo, making the large Italian brewery the second craft brewery acquired by A-B Inbev this year (Devil’s Backbone was the first earlier in April).

Founded in 2005 by Leonardo Di Vincenzo, the Borgorose, Italy based brewery is one of the most widely distributed Italian craft brewers and has collaborated with other well known breweries such as Dogfish Head (with My Antonia) and Cantillon (in lambic blending with Duchessic).

Di Vincenzo will retain his position and decision-making capacity after the acquisition and has termed the deal a “partnership” rather than a “purchase” or a “takeover”:

“Our voyage since we started in 2005 has been a great adventure. Today the beer sector has become very competitive and it necessary for us to make a next step to ensure that we can continue to evolve in terms of brewing techniques and in terms of the complexity and taste variation we can offer to consumers. We believe partnering with AB InBev is a great opportunity to do exactly that: it will allow Birra del Borgo to grow in a sustainable way while staying true to our unique identity and the philosophy that we have followed since the very beginning.

The partnership with AB InBev will bring us many advantages, from technological improvements and access to scientific research to the possibility to grow from a commercial point of view. Moreover, this partnership also means that we will be able to focus much more on what we enjoy most and do best: creating and experimenting with exciting new beers and pushing the boundaries of beer evolution in Italy.”

Birra del Borgo produces 10 beers in a year-round capacity and will continue to produce at their Borgorose facility.

Country Director Simon Wustenberg provided the explanation for why Birra del Borgo was a target for acquisition from Anheuser Busch:

“We have been very impressed by what Leonardo and his team have built since 2005. They have been at the forefront of redefining beer in Italy, bringing a unique mix of inspired innovation, quality and consistency. Leonardo’s vision for beer and his passion for brewing will be great inspirations to our whole team, and we’re very excited about partnering up and growing together. As a challenger on the Italian market, we have been successfully developing our business with a great portfolio of premium and specialty brands in the last few years. Today, that portfolio becomes even stronger with some of the best of ‘Made in Italy’.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. However, with this purchase, Birra del Borgo is now a fully owned subsidiary of A-B Inbev.

Posted in Anheuser-Busch, Headlines

Anheuser Busch acquires Devils Backbone Brewing Company

Anheuser Busch has acquired Nelson County, Virgnia based Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company today, for an undisclosed amount. This is the first brewery purchase by AB InBev this year, after going on a buying streak late last year.

“I am extremely pleased to announce the partnership of Devils Backbone Brewing Company with Anheuser-Busch. While we are joining a creative group of craft breweries in the division, Devils Backbone will retain a high level of autonomy and continue its own authentic DNA within The High End framework,” said Steve Crandall, co-founder and CEO of Devils Backbone Brewing Company. “The existing management team plans to stay on board for many years, while continuing to innovate and bring locally crafted Virginia beer to the nation.”

Devil’s Backbone was founded in 2008 by Steve and Heidi Crandal. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter, 2016.

Full press release is below. We will update this article with more details as we receive them. 

New York and Lexington & Nelson County, VA. April 12, 2016 – Today, Anheuser-Busch announced an agreement to acquire Devils Backbone Brewing Company, the leading and fastest-growing craft brewery in the state of Virginia. Devils Backbone will be the latest partner to join the diverse portfolio of craft breweries within The High End, the company’s business unit comprising unique craft and import brands.

“I am extremely pleased to announce the partnership of Devils Backbone Brewing Company with Anheuser-Busch. While we are joining a creative group of craft breweries in the division, Devils Backbone will retain a high level of autonomy and continue its own authentic DNA within The High End framework,” said Steve Crandall, co-founder and CEO of Devils Backbone Brewing Company. “The existing management team plans to stay on board for many years, while continuing to innovate and bring locally crafted Virginia beer to the nation.”

In 2008, founders Steve and Heidi Crandall opened the doors to Devils Backbone Brewing Company in the Virginia Heartland, after being inspired by a ski trip to northern Italy in 1991 where they had their first taste of Germanic style beer. After success with the first brewpub, Basecamp, the decision was made to break ground on the Outpost facility, in Lexington, Virginia. Originally projected to produce 10,000 barrels of beer in its first ten years, the Outpost produced almost 45,000 barrels in its first three. Steve credits much of this early success to the excellent network of distributors within his system, which is weighted heavily towards Anheuser-Busch.

“I congratulate Steve and Heidi Crandall and the entire Devils Backbone team as they partner with Anheuser-Busch,” said Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.  “Through the strength of Anheuser-Busch’s network of distributors, Devils Backbone’s award-winning craft beer will soon be available throughout the country and beyond. I want to thank Devils Backbone for their immense contribution to Virginia’s world-class craft beer industry, and I look forward to the additional exposure for Virginia as a leading state for craft beer lovers.”

Today, the Outpost Brewery & Taproom in Lexington serves as the primary production brewery while the Basecamp Brewpub & Meadows in Roseland, serves as a visitor destination. Devils Backbone takes full advantage of the scenic 100-acre Basecamp property surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, offering a variety of opportunities for guests to enjoy the outdoors. In 2015, the two locations hosted more than 500,000 guests.

“Devils Backbone has captivated beer drinkers in Virginia since opening its doors eight years ago,” said Felipe Szpigel, President, The High End. “From the beginning, they have shown creativity and talent with the great beers they brew, and they’ve been able to use the authentic offerings at Basecamp Brewpub & Meadows to cultivate a fun, outdoor lifestyle that resonates with everyone. Pair these qualities with dynamic leadership and a dream to do something bigger, and you have the recipe for an even more promising future.”

While best known for its flagship Vienna Lager, which accounted for nearly 60% of Devils Backbone volume in 2015, the portfolio also includes other award-winning year-round favorites like Eight Point IPA and Schwartz Bier. Developing beers with personality and individual integrity of flavor has helped enable Devils Backbone to win four National titles: 2014 Great American Beer Festival Mid-Size Brewery & Brew Team, 2013 Small Brewing Company & Small Brewing Company Brew Team, 2012 Small Brewpub & Small Brewpub Brewer, 2010 World Beer Cup Champion Brewery, and the Virginia Craft Brewers Fest Best of Show medals in 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012.

First Beverage Group acted as financial advisor to Devils Backbone Brewing Company. Anheuser-Busch’s partnership with Devils Backbone is expected to close in the second quarter, subject to customary closing conditions. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. 


Posted in Anheuser-Busch, Headlines

Anheuser-Busch’s Super Bowl spot calls out small breweries again

A year later, beer drinkers still remember Anheuser-Busch’s Super Bowl spot from 2015. The spot, called “Brewed the Hard Way“, was a direct shot a the surging craft beer market.

Two things still stick out from that advert. The first is the most glaringly obvious. Almost that very same week, A-B InBev had struck a deal acquiring craft brewery Elysian Brewing based in Seattle, Washington. The 60 second spot featured a stereotypical looking hipster sipping a beer, with the words flashing on the screen – “Let them sip their peach pumpkin ales”. Funny thing, A-B’s newest member of the family had a peach pumpkin ale in their arsenal. Anheuser-Busch technically owned a peach pumpkin ale at the time.

2016 brings a continuation of last year’s ad, at least in tone. The world’s largest brewery is running another “Proud to be Macro” spot, complete with Clydesdales, statements of pride to be big, and the hashtag #NotBackingDown.

You’ll find this year’s spot to be a little more tame than the 2015 run, while still digging a little (namely the fruit cup mention). The A-B marketing team said  in the weeks after the 2015 ad, and ahead of the one airing this year, that these spots are not meant to support or build up the rest of the A-B InBev portfolio. Just Budweiser.

In the past year, A-B InBev has purchased craft breweries Golden Road Brewing, Breckinridge Brewery, Camden Town Brewery (UK), and Four Peaks Brewing. Not to mention SAB Miller, the world’s second largest brewery, for more than $100 billion (USD).

Posted in Anheuser-Busch, Headlines

Anheuser-Busch purchases Breckenridge Brewery

Anheuser-Busch has purchased their third brewery in 7 days- Colorado-based Breckenridge Brewery. To be a part of their “high-end” line.

The terms of the deal have not been disclosed. (As usual)

“Breckenridge Brewery has a long history of innovation and they continue to brew new and exciting beers, from their specialty brews like the Mountain Series that celebrates the brewery’s origin as a ski town brewpub, to their planned nitro can series,” said Andy Goeler, CEO, Craft, The High End. “They are innovative and have built an amazing business that’s enabled them to get their great beers to fans across the country. We look forward to even more growth together.”

The deal will close by the end of the 1st quarter. In the last 7 days, A-B InBev announced the purchase of Four Peaks Brewing in Arizona, and Camden Town in London, England.

The partnership includes Breckinridge Brewery’s new production brewery and Farm House restaurant in Littleton, plus the brewpub in downtown Breckenridge.

The current management group, Breckenridge-Wynkoop will still run the Ale House at Amato’s in DenverBreckenridge Ale House in Grand JunctionBreckenridge Colorado Craft in Denver; The Cherry Cricket in Denver; Mainline in Fort Collins; Phantom Canyon Brewing Co. in Colorado Springs; and Wynkoop Brewing Company in Denver.

Breckenridge Brewery is currently available in 35 states, with an annual production of 70,000 barrels.

Article in progress. Updating, check back.


Posted in Anheuser-Busch, Golden Road Brewing

Anheuser-Busch Acquires Golden Road Brewing, deal closed today

We’ve been waiting to find out who was the next purchase for Anheuser-Busch. The answer comes today – Golden Road Brewing.

Today, Anheuser-Busch InBev has purchased Golden Road Brewing, based in Los Angeles, California.

As Andy Goeler, CEO of Craft and Anheuser Busch InBev states in the video above, this all started with the Goose Island partnership (purchase) 5 years ago. Building off of that success, A-B InBev purchased Elysian, Blue Point, and 10 Barrel Brewing.

Brewery founder Meg Gil explains how impressed she is with A-B’s work with the “craft brands” prompted the deal, despite the 100% growth since they opened four years ago. She wanted to be with a “winning team”.

Goeler states the beer, the Golden Road culture, and the brewery’s pioneering of the craft scene in L.A. made the purchase a no brainer.

From here, Golden Road will go to Anaheim and Grand Central markets in California, with some hints of national distribution coming soon. A new Golden Road pub will be built in Los Angeles, and a second pub and production location coming to Anaheim in 4th quarter 2016.

Currently, Golden Road produces 45,000 barrels of beer (1.4 million gallons) annual. Details of the deal have not been disclosed. Brewery founder Meg Gil tweet moments ago, the deal with AB InBev has officially closed today, November 18th in Saint Louis, Missouri.