Appalachian Mountain Brewery

Appalachian Mountain Brewery takes home a gold medal for its Boone Creek Blonde Ale at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver in October 2017.

BOONE — Appalachian Mountain Brewery, which opened its doors in 2013, announced Oct. 10 that it has been sold to the Craft Brew Alliance out of Portland, Ore.

“Today, we’re really excited to announce that we’re taking this great partnership to the next level and joining Craft Brew Alliance,” AMB’s head brewer Nathan Kelischek said in a Wednesday statement. “This decision is one of the most important ones we’ve made in our company’s history, and we want to share it with everyone who has been part of our extended family on this journey.”

CBA spokesperson Danny Pettey confirmed that the sale was for 100 percent of the company. The move was announced as part of CBA’s acquiring of Appalachian Mountain Brewery; Cisco Brewers based on Nantucket Island, Mass.; and Wynwood Brewing Co., based in Miami.

“We just thought now would be a better time than ever,” Kelischek said. “Craft Brew Alliance is such an amazing company and will create a lot more opportunities not just for us as a company. We’re still going to be out in the community, we’re going to be involved; this is just going to allow us more resources to follow our passion to make the change we want to see in the world through beer.”

Kelischek said the sale won’t affect AMB’s operations or philanthropy organizations, such as We Can So You Can.

“The values at AMB are the same values we have,” said Craft Brew Alliance’s Innovation Brewmaster Thomas Bleigh. “You’ll see a whole-hearted effort on our end to remain really tight to the local community and reinforce that community, and there’s no better way to reinforce that than to let them do what they already do.”

Financial details of the AMB sale were not immediately disclosed, but the sale of Cisco Brewers to CBA was for $23 million and the sale of all three breweries was for “less than $45 million,” according to beer industry website BrewBound.com. According to MarketWatch, AMB did $7.04 million in sales in 2017 and had a market capitalization of $12.38 million as of Wednesday morning.

Pettey said the CBA acquisition of AMB is expected to close by the end of the year, at which time financial details will be disclosed.

AMB’s relationship with CBA goes back to 2014.

“As many of you know, we entered into a partnership with Craft Brew Alliance the next year, marking a huge step forward in helping us brew more beer and expand across our home state,” Kelischek said. “That partnership with CBA created a lot of great opportunities for our team – giving us more resources and flexibility to create great new beers like Not an IPA – which just earned us our third Great American Beer Festival medal – as well as roll out all new packaging, explore the hard cider side of things, expand into South Carolina and Tennessee, and continue our relentless passion for innovation. Along the way, we’ve gotten to know the family at CBA and learn from each other.”

Kelischek said that despite the sale, it doesn’t mean that AMB will see any immediate changes or that any other CBA beers will be sold at AMB.

The CBA, headquartered in Portland, Ore., is a group of breweries located in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii that was formed in 2008 with the merger of Redhook Brewery, established in Seattle in 1981, and Widmer Brothers Brewing, established in Portland, Ore., in 1984.

A publicly-traded company, CBA is partially owned by Anheuser-Busch Companies, which owns 31.4 percent of the shares, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in April.

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, Breckenride Brewery, Stella Artois and more.

According to media reports, Anheuser-Busch has the option to make a qualifying offer to buy all of CBA’s stock by August 2019, under its deal made in 2016.

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rcshowman@gmail.com

Pretty glaring oversight to not mention that 32% of CBA is owned by InBev and that CBA uses the AB-InBev distribution network that purposefully pushes out local breweries from store shelves.

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