Fortune – Anheuser-Busch InBev has acquired North Carolina-based Wicked Weed Brewing, scooping up yet another craft brewer to add to the Budweiser maker’s collection of higher-end ales.
On Wednesday, AB InBev announced Wicked Weed Brewing would join the company’s “High End” portfolio, which also includes AB InBev’s Stella Artois and craft brands it has acquired in recent years, including Elysian, Devils Backbone and Blue Point.
I don’t want a beat a dead horse since EVERYONE covered this. But here it is. Wicked Weed was acquired by the dreaded AB-Inbev, owners of the wonderful (read: sarcasm) Budweiser, Bud Light, Bud Light Lime, and many many more.
I honestly don’t know how I feel about this. There are 5,000 breweries in the United States alone. That is a TON of beer. Every brewer probably dreams of that big fat paycheck coming their way on some level. Would make their lives easier for sure after shelling out a lot of money for equipment, insurance, employees, benefits, supplies, etc.
But on the other hand, it is our beloved community of craft breweries that we love so dearly. We don’t want to see them get purchased, we love the tiny mom and pop feel we get when we walk in and smell the beer. The food trucks outside, the employees describe the beers with a pride of sticking it to “the man” and not being corporate. I get that and I’m sad to see another one of our beloved beers go to the “dark side”, but let’s also congratulate those owners for making such a great product, it caught wind of a bazillion dollar company. It was one of of the 5,000. That is impressive.
As for whether craft breweries can keep the moniker that we love when they grow up and get to the big leagues, I’m not sure. I say there is a grace period after acquisition personally. Until they start utilizing the distribution, supply, chain, and resources now available to them and reduce costs, I say we can still love them. Once they start doing all of that fun business stuff, then we can reject them. Think about Goose Island 5-6 years ago…it was a successful brewery, but now you can’t go to a ball game, restaurant, etc. without seeing it thanks to AB-Inbev (It’s shorter to write that than the full name).
Side note though, shoutout to Jester King. They heard the news, were kind of screwed over by Wicked Weed by not having a courtesy call to let them know they were going corporate. In response, Jester King decided to pull the plug on a collaboration between the two. This is Jester King giving a HUGE middle finger to corporate beer. A big fuck you Budweiser, my beer is great and I don’t need your help. Shoutout to sticking to your values in the face of probably a lot of potential money!
Add another to the list of fallen soldiers.
P.S. – If Wicked Weed does distribution in Denver or California, would be a totally awesome name for a Marijuana dispensary. Just saying. Think about it AB!!!