This morning, we awoke to what some may consider to be troubling news — AB InBev has bought yet another craft brewery; Breckenridge Brewery. Breckenridge is mostly known for their Agave Wheat and their delicious Vanilla Porter, though recently, their Christmas Ale has also become a staple in many people’s holiday seasonal beer traditions.
Breckenridge, which is available in 35 states, is projected to produce numbers nearing 70,000 barrels of beer in 2015. Breckenridge will be the latest addition to AB-inBev’s ever-growing portfolio of craft brands such as Goose Island, Blue Point Brewing and others.
This morning, Breckenridge President J. Todd Usry released a statement on the Breckenridge Blog. The statement is as follows:
Today’s announcement of our acquisition by Anheuser-Busch’s craft and import division may come as a surprise to many of you. We want to share with you how we came to this decision, what it means to Breckenridge Brewery and to those who’ve supported us for so long.
We’ve been in this creative and dynamic industry for over 25 years, loving everything about it. That won’t change. The passion for quality and culture that got us where we are today isn’t going anywhere. We’re proud of the fact that you can find our beers in 35 states; we’ve worked hard to get our beers to as many of you as possible throughout the years. The High End, Anheuser-Busch’s craft and import division, shares the same excitement for our category and commitment to quality. We will join a group of established and innovative craft brewers as part of The High End, and we look forward to what opportunities these relationships will bring to us.
Our brewpub in Breckenridge, our Littleton brewery and its Farm House restaurant are all part of this new entity. Other properties under the Breckenridge-Wynkoop umbrella will continue to be owned and operated by B-W and are not part of this arrangement.
Of course, the same great team who helped build Breckenridge Brewery won’t be going anywhere. We are excited about the opportunity this partnership brings to all of us. We’ll continue to own decisions about the beers we create and the ingredients in them. What people relate to in this industry is authenticity. If there were plans to come in and change our employees, our culture, and our recipes, well, that would completely undermine the reason for the partnership at all. What this new partnership does offer us is access to resources that will help us continue to innovate and bring our beer to more people.
We ultimately owe our success to you, our followers and supporters. I hope you will give us the chance to prove to you over time that we will continue to be Breckenridge Brewery.
J. Todd Usry
President, Breckenridge Brewery
While we understand why people sell out to Big Beer, we’ve gone over it on our podcast in depth (we recommend listening to this podcast episode, as we discuss this topic in great lengths), it still feels like independent breweries are being bought at an alarming rate. The fear from most consumers is that we will not only see diminished quality of beers, but also a diminished selection on the shelves if Big Beer companies start buying shelf space to only sell their brands. It’s a scenario that could spell disaster for small breweries across the country looking to make a name for themselves.
In a statement put out by AB-inBev, Usry goes on to say, “We’re excited about the partnership and have been encouraged to continue on our path and become more innovative moving forward,” he continues, “I’m a believer in what The High End is focused on accomplishing and we are flattered that our team was chosen to help guide that journey. We’re looking forward to utilizing resources like decades of research and brewing expertise as we continue to create new beers.”
What are your thoughts of the Breckenridge acquisition by AB-inBev? Is this a good step for the 6th largest brewer in Colorado? Is this another example of the craft beer bubble bursting? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.