ST. LOUIS — Anheuser-Busch, the largest brewer of American-based beers, announced Nov. 11 that it plans to buy the remaining stock of the Portland-based Craft Brew Alliance, which owns the Boone-based Appalachian Mountain Brewery.
“Today’s announcement represents an exciting next step in a long and successful partnership with Anheuser-Busch, whose support for the growth of our business and brands traces back over 25 years,” said Andy Thomas, CEO of CBA, on Nov. 11. “By combining our resources, our talented teammates and dynamic brands, we will look to nurture the growth of CBA’s existing portfolio as we continue investing in innovation to meet the changing needs of today’s beverage consumers, all while delivering certainty of value to our shareholders.”
Anheuser-Busch, which had owned 31.6 percent of CBA stock, will purchase the remaining stock at $16.50 a share, according to the Nov. 11 release. The sale is expected to be finalized in 2020, both companies stated.
“The partnership between our parent company Craft Brew Alliance and Anheuser-Busch means a lot to us here at AMB since last year we officially joined Craft Brew Alliance, giving us access to distribute our beers through the Anheuser-Busch network and reach more consumers, foster our creativity and support our local community,” said Nathan Kelischek, co-founder and head brewer of Appalachian Mountain Brewery. “As part of CBA, we’ve seen first-hand how Anheuser-Busch is working to nurture the growth of craft brewers, investing more than $130 million to support their breweries and local communities. We’re really looking forward to what this could mean for us but also craft beer drinkers.”
According to CBA spokesperson Jenny McLean, there are no changes planned for AMB or CBA at this time.
“We have been partners with (Anheuser-Busch) since before (CBA) was founded,” McLean said. “There are no changes in Portland (Oregon), no changes to the brand portfolio, no changes to employee headcount and no changes to employee benefits as a result of this deal.”
McLean brought up Wicked Weed Brewery in Asheville, noting that despite a negative reaction from within the craft brew industry to its sale to Anheuser-Busch in 2017, the sale provided Wicked Weed with more opportunities for distribution.
The St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch Companies – which brews domestic beers Budweiser, Michelob Ultra and Natural Light among others – has been expanding its craft beer portfolio in recent years, now owning Shock Top, Goose Island, Breckenridge Brewery, Stella Artois and more.
According to the Nov. 11 statement, the vast majority of CBA’s brands are already distributed through Anheuser-Busch’s network of independent wholesalers per the companies’ existing commercial agreement.
“Our partnership with CBA goes back many years and we look forward to supporting CBA as they continue to bring great products to beer drinkers across the U.S.,” said Michel Doukeris, CEO of Anheuser-Busch, on Nov. 11.
CBA would join Anheuser-Busch’s Brewers Collective, which is described as a “collection of craft partners spread throughout the country committed to providing consumers with innovative, quality beers and investing in their local communities.”
“CBA’s diverse portfolio of regional breweries and innovative lifestyle brands is an excellent complement to our family of craft partners and would continue to help fuel the growth of the craft beer category,” said Marcelo “Mika” Michaelis, president of Brewers Collective.
AMB, which was founded by Sean Spiegelman and Kelischek, was sold to Craft Brew Alliance in October 2018, with the sale closing in November 2018 for an undisclosed amount. Kelischek said in August that there were no plans for AMB to move from its original location at 163 Boone Creek Drive.
The sale comes after Anheuser-Busch decided against making a qualifying offer to buy all of CBA’s stock at the price of $24.50 a share by an Aug. 24 deadline. The stock price was hovering around $15-16 a share in August, but after the Aug. 24 deadline, the stock dipped to as low as $6-7 a share. However, after the Nov. 11 announcement, CBA stock more than doubled up to $16-17 a share.
“Anheuser-Busch’s craft partners have created nearly 1,000 new jobs in their home communities to support their growing breweries,” the Nov. 11 statement said.