Craft brewers ready to buy Anheuser, just need $213 billion

The trade association representing craft brewers across the country launched the likely to fail crowdfunding goal Monday as part of its “Take Craft Back” campaign.

A quality control test of an Anheuser-Busch InBev beer. (Courtesy of Anheuser-Busch InBev)
A quality control test of an Anheuser-Busch InBev beer. (Courtesy of Anheuser-Busch InBev)
A quality control test of an Anheuser-Busch InBev beer. (Courtesy of Anheuser-Busch InBev)

The Boulder-based Brewers Association is looking to raise $213 billion to turn the table and have small, independent craft brewers acquire beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev.

The trade association representing craft brewers across the country launched the likely-to-fail crowdfunding goal Monday as part of its “Take Craft Back” campaign, raising awareness of AB InBev buying craft brewers.

“Since 2011, Anheuser-Busch InBev has quietly acquired 10 small and independent breweries, but they won’t tell you that on their packaging,” according to the Brewers Association.

“Just try to name all 10 without Googling… exactly. Big Beer creates an ‘illusion of choice,’ but we are presenting them with a reality check — and hopefully, at the end of the day, with a real check too.”

In order to qualify as a craft brewer, breweries have to be less than 25 percent owned or controlled by an alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer, according to the Brewers Association. Colorado’s largest craft brewery, New Belgium Brewing Co., meets that threshold. AB-owned Breckenridge Brewery and 10 Barrel Brewing Co. do not.

The Brewers Association launched its new campaign Monday with the help of the Boulder marketing agency, the Sterling-Rice Group. The campaign kicked off with a commercial and spokesman going by “Andy.” In the online video, Andy says people think of craft breweries as places reviving neighborhoods, creating culture, putting people to work and “doing something for America apart from just putting the word on a can.”

“Big beer is buying up craft breweries left and right hoping to take that independence away. If big beer gets their way you won’t be able to find your favorite craft beers at your local bars, stores and restaurants,” Andy says.

In December 2015, before the Breckenridge acquisition went through, AB told the Coloradoan it had roughly 1,000 employees in Colorado including about 525 workers at its brewing facility in Fort Collins. Breckenridge Brewery told the newspaper at the time it had 383 people.

For comparison, Colorado had 22,220 full-time employees in the craft beer industry, according to the Brewers Association.

Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.

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Adrian D. Garcia

Author: Adrian D. Garcia

Adrian D. Garcia is on business and trends for Denverite, serves as treasurer for the Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and on the board of the Denver Press Club. He can be reached at agarcia@denverite.com.