Anheuser-Busch InBev’s largest purchase to date — the $107 billion merger of rival SABMiller — might still be awaiting regulatory approval, but that certainly hasn’t stopped the beer behemoth from gobbling up smaller craft brewers in the meantime. In its eighth purchase of a U.S.-based craft brewer since 2011, AB has now added Virginia-based Devil’s Backbone to its “High End” portfolio.
With this week’s announcement, that makes Devil’s Backbone the third craft beer acquisition for AB since Dec. 2015.
“We’re very excited with craft beer,” Felipe Szpigel, president of The High End, told the Roanoke Times on Tuesday. “It’s a great development for beer and to get beer to go all the places it deserves.”
While the companies scooped up by AB InBev for The High End differ geographically, they have several things in common including being deemed “the leading” or “one of the fastest growing craft brewers” in the country. The brewers also often owned and operated brewpubs — restaurants that serve and brew their own beers.
AB’s Craft Beer Shopping Spree
|Craft Brewer||Year Purchased|
|Goose Island||March 2011|
|Blue Point Brewing||Feb. 2014|
|10 Barrel Brewing||Nov. 2014|
|Elysian Brewing||Jan. 2015|
|Golden Road Brewing||Sept. 2015|
|Breckenridge Brewing||Dec. 2015|
|Four Peaks Brewing||Dec. 2015|
|Devil’s Backbone Brewing||April 2016|
Getting things started in March 2011, formerly Chicago-based Fulton Street Brewery — the legal name for Goose Island — announced it would sell a 58% stake of its business to distribution partner Anheuser-Busch.
The deal, which was valued at $38.8 million, gave InBev its first taste of the soon-to-explode U.S. craft beer market. It also ramped up production of Goose Island, making it available to more people.
That purchase marked the beginning of AB InBev’s official craft brewer shopping spree.
Months later in Nov. 2014, the company picked up 10 Barrel Brewing and its brewpubs in Oregon and Idaho. The company didn’t reveal the purchase price for the Oregon-based brewery.
AB InBev then kicked off 2015 with the purchase of Washington-based Elysian Brewing company. The acquisition, which didn’t reveal a purchase price, also included Elysian’s four brewpubs in the Seattle area.
Next up, the company purchased Golden Road Brewery — which produces Point the Way IPA, Wolf Among Weeds IPA, Golden Road Hefeweizen and 329 Days of Sun Lager — in September 2015, just weeks before the company made its bid for SABMiller official.
Those deals, announced during the same week in December, also came days after the company gobbled up U.K. craft brewer Camden Town. However, that brand does not fall under The High End unit.
That brings us to the company’s latest purchase of Devil’s Backbone, which makes Vienna Lager and other hearty brews.
The Roanoke Times reports that the deal was initiated about four months ago when Devil’s Backbone learned they were limited on their borrowing capabilities.
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