Below is a list of some of the main “craft” breweries that have been bought out, now producing what I like to call Ex Craft Beer.
This page will be updated with any major new takeovers, tacked onto the original list which was first published here.
Ex Craft Beer Brewers
Last updated: 13/12/16
Craft Brew Alliance – 32.2% bought by ABInBev in 2007
An early investment in a group of craft breweries by AB InBev, that will go on to be the biggest player in purchasing and merging in the brewing world over the next ten years.
Original members of the Craft Brew Alliance, the Widmer Brothers, were booted from the Brewer’s Association after agreeing to sell more than 25% in their brewing alliance to AB InBev in 2007. The alliance includes Widmer, Hawaii’s Kona Brewing, Redhook and the reduced gluten brewer Omission.
Goose Island – Bought by ABInBev for $38.8 million, March 2011
The world’s largest brewing company swooped for Chicago’s much respected Goose Island in 2011, in the first major play to gobble up a slice of the craft beer market.
Founders – 30% stake bought by Mahou-San Miguel for an unknown amount, Dec 2014
Though retaining control of the company, Founders lost their “craft” status by selling more than the 25% listed by the Brewer’s Association as the maximum a non-craft brewing owner can hold in a craft brewer. They were listed as the 17th largest craft brewer in the US in 2014, but will not feature in the new list.
Meantime – Bought by SABMiller for an unknown amount, March 2015
The second largest brewing company in the world switches their focus to the UK, buying one of Britain’s longest established American-inspired craft breweries. Whether the UK will be as picky about ex craft beer as the US is yet to be seen, with the craft beer movement not yet at the same level as with our Colonial cousins.
UPDATE: After the AB InBev/SAB Miller deal was announced, it was widely reported that Meantime would be sold off.
Firestone Walker – Bought by Duvel Moortgat for an estimated $250 million, July 2015
The 16th largest craft brewer in the States gobbled by the 12th. The Parabola brewer had developed a solid reputation, largely thanks to the 14% monster of a stout that had beer geeks the world over excited. Family-owned Belgian brewing company Duvel Moortat added the California brewery to their collection, having already bought Missouri’s Boulevard Brewing in 2013 for around $100 million.
Lagunitas – 50% stake bought by Heineken for an estimated $500 million , September 2015
The California brewery, the 6th largest craft brewery in the States at the time, had announced its third brewing facility, in LA, before announcing a 50% sale to Heineken. Neither party gained overall control as part of the deal, the only truly “joint venture” that can be found among these buy-outs so far.
Ballast Point – Bought by Constellation Brands for $1 billion, Nov 2015
One billion dollars for the 31st largest craft brewer in America. Corona-owner Constellation Brands had made a fortune in the beer industry through the Mexican lager, the 5th highest selling beer in the USA. Having become a big player in American beer, purchasing one of the country’s most popular breweries would grab a piece of the craft action, but with a hefty price tag.
Camden Town Brewery – Bought by AB InBev for an estimated £85million, Dec 2015
Trendy London lager brewery Camden, one of the first to experiment with Crowdfunding in early 2015, entered a “partnership” with the world’s largest brewing company in late December 2015. Details of the deal are not yet clear, but it comes after it was widely reported that SAB Miller, having agreed to sell to AB InBev, would sell of it’s London based craft brewing interest, Meantime.
Birra Del Borgo – Bought by AB InBev for an undisclosed amount, Apr 2016
The world’s largest brewing company turned its sights to Italy in the first half of 2016, gobbling up one of the country’s most beloved craft breweries. Birra Del Borgo enjoyed a very close relationship with America’s famous Dogfish Head as well as BrewDog and Cantillon. Birra Del Borgo became the 12th small brewery to be acquired by AB Inbev in 18 months.
Bosteels – Bought by AB InBev for a reported €200 million in September 2016
Re-setting its sights on a group of breweries rather than a specific brewery, and doing so in the spiritual home of beer and the actual home of InBev for the first time, AB Inbev aquired the group which owns some of the most famous Belgian beer brands, such as Kwak and Tripel Karmaliet.
The extent to which beers such as this could ever be categorised as “craft” under the American definition is much debated, though they were widely accepted to be at least honourary or emeritus “craft” beers. That idea may well be drastically different in the context of AB Inbev’s overall dominance of the market.
SAB Miller – Bought by AB InBev for a reported £79 Billion in October 2016
The world’s number 1 gobbles up the world’s number 2, cementing the total dominance of the market.
The deal took around a year to complete, with very public negotiations and hoop-jumping to get it done.
To appease competition regulators, AB InBev announced that it would sell the SAB Miller brands Peroni, Grolsch and, hello again, Meantime, which were all bought by Asahi. In December of 2016, Asahi also agreed to buy AB InBev’s Eastern European brands, including Pilsner Urquell.
– – – – –
This list will be updated with any new movements in the beer industry. If we’ve missed anything significant, tweet us @TheMissingDrink