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Reaction to the Wicked Weed sale to Anhueser-Busch

PubOutsideThe Internet blew up yesterday on the news of Asheville, NC brewery Wicked Weed’s sale to brewing behemoth Anhueser-Busch. The reactions ran the gamut from utter outrage to disbelief to acceptance. Put simply, it was polarizing news that caused Twitter and other social media outlets to virtually explode with opinions on the matter.

Dumping beers from breweries acquired by A-B was a common theme among craft beer bars, package stores and restaurants. Brew Studs, a Twitter account linked to a popular beer blog of the same name tweeted:

Texas sour and funky beer brewer Jester King regularly collaborated with Wicked Weed and even carried Wicked Weed beers in their taproom. But, with the news that broke yesterday, that all changed.

“This has been a difficult day for us. The news that our great friend Wicked Weed Brewing was acquired by AB In-Bev came as quite a shock,” wrote Jester King founder Jefferey Stuffings on his brewery’s website. “One of our core principles is that we do not sell beer from AB In-Bev or its affiliates…”

“Because of this core principle,” Stuffings continued. “It pains us to say that we won’t be carrying Wicked Weed anymore at Jester King. We think Wicked Weed beer is some of the best in the world. Their talent, techniques, and patience produces some of the most beautiful beer we’ve ever tasted. That, combined with their great friendship, is what makes this decision so tough for us. But like we said, our core values must be paramount at the end of the day.”

Denver, Colo. brewery Black Project also pulled out of a collaboration they were working on with WIcked Weed.

“…We will not be able to lend our name to the unfinished collaboration beer currently aging in Asheville, NC.” Black Project owners James and Sarah Howat said on their website. “Additionally, the beer we brewed with Wicked Weed here at Black Project will be blended with other existing aged beer we have on hand to make something totally different which we will not consider a Wicked Weed collaboration.”

Breweries are also pulling out of the Wicked Weed Funkatorium Invitational, a music and beer festival that benefits an Asheville charity that identifies needs in the community and works to resolve them. Both Jester King and Black Project along with Grimm Artisnal, Jackie O’s, Haw River Farmhouse, OEC, Trillium and Wooden Robot have announced they will not participate as planned.

But the shunning from fellow breweries and beer lovers are not the only consequences Wicked Weed has suffered. The North Carolina Brewer’s Guild stripped the brewery of its voting rights and relegated Wicked Weed to only having the ability to be an affiliate member of the guild.

What are your thoughts on the sale? Is it a business move or is it a sell out?

 

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2017 in Beer, Brewery Acquisitions

 

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Wicked Weed sold to Anhueser-Busch

Wicked-Weed-Brewing-LogoFans of Asheville, NC brewery Wicked Weed woke up to shocking news this morning: Anheuser-Busch has finalized a plan to acquire the beloved, funky brand.

“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.”

Wicked Weed will join breweries like Goose Island, Breckenridge and Devil’s Backbone in A-B’s The High End division dedicated to high end craft and import beers.

“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,” Dickenson said. “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.”

While financial details were not released, it is sure to be significant due to the brewery’s four-brewery foot print — the original brewery, Funkatorium (all oak-aged brews), a 40,000 square foot satellite 50-barrel brewery and their new 57,000 square foot brewery dedicated exclusively to the production of sour, farmhouse and wild-fermented beers.

“It’s clear to me Wicked Weed is redefining what sophistication in beer can mean,” said Felipe Szpigel, president of The High End. “With their amazing offerings being relevant in a wide variety of occasions. Their ability to brew the highest quality beers, in a variety of styles, along with their exciting barrel program, leads me to be optimistic about what our futures hold together.”

If the model to manage craft beer acquisitions by A-B holds true, production of core beers will be handed off to A-B while specialty beer innovation will be retained by the team at Wicked Weed. In addition to an influx in operating capital, A-B provides Wicked Weed with the ability to take advantage of economy of scale purchasing for raw materials that could significantly improve the small brewer’s bottom line.

The sale is subject to regulatory approval.

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2017 in Beer, Brewery Acquisitions

 

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