St. LOUIS and SEATTLE (January 23, 2015) – Anheuser-Busch today announced it has agreed to purchase Elysian Brewing Company, based in Seattle, Washington....Wow. Weeks ago, when AB snatched 10 Barrel, I observed that their strategy appeared to revolve around finding independent breweries with impeccable cred, and they could hardly have done better than Elysian. It's long been my favorite Washington brewery, and it's always my first stop when I hit Seattle. It has always seemed the most Seattle of the Seattle breweries--an extemporaneous brewery that could be equal parts gritty and urbane and credibly support local sports teams or indie bands. Elysian always seemed to be right where Seattle was a the time.
Joe Bisacca, Elysian CEO and co-founder [...] will continue with Elysian along with his partners, Dick Cantwell and David Buhler. “After a lot of hard work, we’ve grown from one Seattle brewpub to four pub locations and a production brewery. With the support of Anheuser-Busch, we will build on past successes and share our beers with more beer lovers moving forward.”
Will this change? I'm normally agnostic about ownership structures, but as a fan, this is at least a little alarming. But as I've been saying for years now: welcome to the big new world of craft brewing.
Update. Why does this rattle me--admittedly not a local, but local-adjacent? A big part of Elysian's allure was how well they represented Seattle and the heartbeat of the city. Just because a brewery is local doesn't mean it can channel the local mores, culture, and zeitgeist. Elysian could and did--which is a big part of why they were so good. Can they still do that as a division of AB? In the short term, almost certainly. But I fear we've lost a little bit of what made Seattle Seattle. Or put another way:
does it really? pic.twitter.com/jFlFqWf1oD
— Evil Twin Brewing (@EvilTwinBrewing) January 23, 2015