By now, you’ve heard that Wicked Weed was purchased by AB InBev and will soon be wrapped up into their High End portfolio. To put it lightly: people lost their mind. Reaction to the deal from the craft beer community was swift and often brutal. The North Carolina Brewer’s Guild stripped Wicked Weed of their voting rights within the organization. Two other independent breweries cancelled collaborations with WW (Jester King and Black Project Spontaneous and Wild Ales), while some stores claimed they would stop selling Wicked Weed’s beer. Meanwhile, more than 50 breweries have dropped out of Wicked Weed’s impending Funkatorium Invitational, a sour beer fest where the profits go to a local charity.
It seems as if almost every notable brewery felt the need to chime in on the acquisition via social media (Sierra Nevada simply posted a picture of one of their six-pack holders that said “still family owned and operated”). Maybe the only craft brewery that was psyched about Wicked Weed’s announcement was Lagunitas, which announced almost simultaneously that Heineken would purchase the remaining 50% of their company. Nobody seemed to notice because of all of the Wicked Weed outrage.
And the number of breweries craft beer purists are going to probably (maybe) try to avoid is only set to grow. Since establishing the High End portfolio in 2015, AB InBev has gone on a spending spree; they now own 10 craft breweries (as well as a cidery and hard seltzer maker). Curious about which breweries are owned by Anheuser Busch? Check out the gallery to see the full list.
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Goose Island was purchased by AB InBev way back in 2011. And guess what? Their Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout killed it in our recent blind tasting of barrel-aged imperial stouts.
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Blue Point Brewing, on Long Island, was purchased in 2014.
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AB InBev really got going in 2014, purchasing 10 Barrel Brewing, which was much beloved in its home state of Oregon.
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Early in 2015, AB InBev announced it would purchase Elysian Brewing, which was awkward because Elysian made a beer with the tagline "corporate beer still sucks."
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Then later on that year they bought Golden Road, the largest craft brewery in LA.
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Four Peaks, operating in Tempe, Arizona, also sold out in 2015. The brewery has undergone more than a million in upgrades since the purchase and the three founders are, apparently, still running the show.
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Breckenridge Brewery also joined the High End at the end of 2015.
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AB InBev bought Virginia's Devils Backbone in 2016, which had pulled some serious hardware for their German-style lagers in recent years.
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Later that year, Karbach Brewing, from Texas, sold to AB InBev. Karbach was one of the fastest growing craft breweries in the country thanks to its quick dominance of Texas.
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Wicked Weed is the latest craft brewery to sell to AB InBev. Total purchase price is unknown, which seems to be the standard operating procedure for these sort of deals.