These acquisitions have ZERO to do with wanting to “support ALL breweries, EVERYWHERE“. These are all about Influence. Leverage. Insinuating themselves into a culture which is, at least in LARGE part, a reaction to and rejection of everything AB has stood for…


TPFThe ugly news broke, just this morning, of the impending sale of Asheville, North Carolina’s, Wicked Weed Brewing….to a company which doesn’t give two shits about WW’s beer, P&L sheet or anything else about it…except its LOCATION

OKAY…here’s a little primer, as we get all set to watch another fine American brewery lose its “Indie Beer” status for good…

15940915_452221488235090_3558166596318995045_nHere’s the fact that gets obscured by all the furor: AB/ InBev, the huge, faceless international conglomerate that owns the formerly-American “brewery” concern, Anheuser Busch, has an oft-stated and aggressive determination (and, these days, a frenzied desperation) to do anything it can to stop the accelerating erosion of its beer market share by small, independent breweries. The Super Bowl ads about “doing it the Hard Way“, the continual sneering at “pumpkin-peach ales” and “foofy beers” – all part of an overall effort to do what they could not do by just selling their wares: discredit, slow, and eradicate independent brewing. They’ve admitted this. It’s not a guess on my part and they haven’t been real subtle about it, either. AB wants to either control or destroy Indie beer…and they don’t much care which.

SO…below, you’ll find a map, with the locations of all of AB’s full and partial ownership shown in caution signs. The upside-down ones are those in which AB owns a percentage (usually a third). The full-size, upright ones are full ownership. The shadowy one is their pending purchase agreement with Wicked Weed Brewing, of Asheville, NC. There is no mystery about this strategy: AB is buying up breweries in states in which Indie Beer is booming. They are NOT buying these breweries because they’re looking for profits. The combined sales figures of all 12 breweries wouldn’t even generate a measurable percentage on AB’s annual revenue sheets. They are buying these breweries for A) Indie Beer cred, of the type that have been totally unable to EARN by brewing, and B) LEVERAGE. In each of the states in which they’ve found a sell-out brewery owner, this purchase gives them a legitimate and undeniable means of approaching those states’ governments and lobbying for legislation that services their agenda of obstructing and limiting the growth of small, independent breweries. Legislatures in states in which AB does not have an ownership presence can simply tell their lobbyists, “You’re an outsider, so we don’t need to listen to you.” As an owner, that gives them the access they need to establish a Presence – a menacing, activist, daily Presence – in capitals like Albany and Eugene* and Olympia and Sacramento. They have distributorships in ALL these states, already, but that’s a different business class. With these breweries – these, in effect, TOOLS – they can legitimately pry open the doors to state governments in places where Indie Beer is strongest.

(I’ve left “Eugene”there to wear the shame that I own for not proofreading properly. Robert Craig, of Walking Man Brewing, was kind enough to point out that SALEM, not Eugene, is the capital of Oregon. I knew that and I whiffed on it when proofing. Many thanks to Robert and…this shame shirt kinda itches…)

(Breweries by state:  WA: Elysian; 32% of Red Hook / OR: 10 Barrel; 32% of Widmer Brothers / CA: Golden Road Brewing / AZ: Four Peaks Brewing / Texas: Karbach Brewing  /VA: Devil’s Backbone Brewing / IL: Goose Island / CO: Breckenridge Brewing / NY: Blue Point Brewing / HI: 32% of Kona Brewing)
1. California
2 – 4. Varies between Colorado,Washington, and Oregon
5. Michigan (No AB ownership)
6. Pennsylvania (No AB ownership)
7. New York
8. Wisconsin (No AB ownership)
9. Texas
10. North Carolina
11. Illinois
1. Florida
2. Indiana
3. Virginia
4. Ohio
5. Arizona

And AB has, according to several brewers in the three states with whom I’ve spoken, made offers to breweries in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin…and are still trying. actively. The same is also true in Florida, Indiana, and Ohio…

Those top four states account for just over ONE THIRD of all the breweries in the US…and those are the states AB targeted first.

These acquisitions have ZERO to do with wanting to, as AB continues to disingenuously insist, “support ALL breweries, EVERYWHERE“. These are all about Influence. Leverage. Insinuating themselves into a culture which is, at least in LARGE part, a reaction to and rejection of everything AB has stood for: lack of Choices, cynical corruption of brewing traditions, $$$ Uber Alles, and a truly vicious and long-held malice toward the entire idea of entrepreneurship and small businesses and individual initiative. For over 100 years, AB has bought up small local breweries as soon as they started selling enough beer to make any dent in AB’s ledgers and, in most cases, simply shuttered those breweries and threw the employees out into the unemployment lines. AB’s faux-earnest claims of being a “friend to all breweries” is belied by their actions and they adopted the Trump Philosophy before Donald was even born: when cornered, LIE, keep lying, and heap scorn upon all doubters.

Make no mistake about this:

AB/InBev – aka Anheuser Busch – wants ONLY to move America back to the days when the word “beer”, for nearly all of us, meant a watery, insipid, mass-produced, dumbed-down version of a great Czech/German tradition of fine lagers, which Adolphus Busch blithely shat upon, back when he first started AB, saying, “Make the beers by this recipe. Americans don’t know any better. This is good enough for them“…and then refused to even drink his own crappy beer.

Greedhead Brewers in PA,WI, FL, IN, and OH, think fast. Your payday is coming


3 thoughts on “Another One Bites The Dust: Budweiser Finds Another Sell-Out

  1. Pingback: Professor Good Ales » Post Topic » Another One Bites the Dust: Budweiser Finds Another Sell-Out

Speak yer piece, Pilgrim.

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