Anheuser-Busch InBev is moving to expand its presence in craft, acquiring a popular North Carolina craft brewer while apparently also getting ready to import an Italian craft brand.
ABI announced earlier today that, pending regulatory approval, it was going to acquire Wicked Weed Brewing. Since opening five years ago in the thriving craft scene of Asheville, Wicked Weed has made a name for itself with its IPAs, Belgian-style ales and barrel-aged sours.
From the ABI press release:
"This is an exciting time for the entire brewing team," said co-founder Walt Dickinson. "Our ability to create a wide range of really well executed beers that are focused on creativity, quality and drinkability is what makes Wicked Weed great. We have chosen to partner with The High End to position ourselves to make Wicked Weed what we imagined it could be when we first sat at a craft beer bar and talked about opening a brewery. As a brewer, giving our team more resources to continue innovating our portfolio and the ability to reach more craft drinkers, allows us to keep putting the beer and the people first."
As noted by BrewBound, Wicked Weed marks the 10th craft acquisition by ABI since 2011.
In a statement, the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild said Wicked Weed could no longer be a voting member but hoped they would stay on as an affiliate.
While we are disheartened to hear of the sale of Wicked Weed Brewing Co. to Anheuser Busch, we wish our friends at Wicked Weed all the best. They have certainly made a profound impact on the Asheville beer scene and they’ve helped raise the profile of North Carolina as a craft beer state.
Meanwhile, ABI appears poised to import beers brewed by Birra del Borgo, an Italian craft brewer it acquired in 2016.
Over the past two months, ABI has received TTB approval for two brands, Duchessa and Prunus, that are brewed by Birra del Borgo. Duchessa is a saison-style beer brewed with spelt while Prunus is brewed with cherries.