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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Devils Backbone (VA) to AB InBev

Update/Upon Further Consideration (10:48 am)
The one category of interest that these acquisitions bring to mind has to do with strategy, future acquisitions, and timelines. How many breweries does ABI need to complete their "High End" portfolio? What do they plan to do with these beers? How will the US strategy unfold as ABI pairs the High End brands with the flagship mass market lagers? All interesting stuff. We have begun to suspect that ABI is looking to knit together a portfolio of regional breweries, so looking at the map might suggest where they're headed next. We know that they tend not to purchase very large breweries--50,000 to 100,000 seems to be the range.

Another piece I'd add to the calculation is flagship brands. Devil's Backbone is known for lagers and their flagship is the Vienna Lager. They've been buying a lot of breweries that are known for IPAs, and that causes a logjam stylistically; Devil's Backbone doesn't compete with them. I'd bet this is more than a passing consideration for ABI moving forward.


This is getting to be a boring novel in which all the chapters repeat. There's nothing to say that hasn't been said in the earlier chapters (see: 10 Barrel, Breckenridge, Four Peaks, Elysian), but if you want details, go here for the press release. Funari reports that they brewed 95,000 62,000 barrels last year [with projections for 95k in 2016], which puts them in that ABI sweet spot.

But the news does give me the opportunity to post my updated map of ABI holdings. So there's that.


Dino said...

Living in VA, this one hits home a bit. I tend to stick wi the mindset that it's no longer a local beer. Might still be craft, but not local. So for better or worse, I'll probably stop drinking it.

John the Kiwi said...

So what are the right-sized breweries in Texas and Florida. Because they've got bullseyes on them.

Alistair Reece said...

Devils Backbone is one of my local breweries, just a few miles down the road, and I have had the privilege of brewing with Jason a few times. This deal will not make me stop drinking their beer, the beer going to shit will stop me drinking their beer, and I trust Jason and co to keep standards at or even higher than they already are.

Alistair Reece said...

Sorry to be pedantic, but can you correct the title, it's "Devils Backbone" not "Devil's Backbone".

Jeff Alworth said...

You know I love pedants. Fixed.

Chris Furnari said...

Quick correction: That 95K bbl figure is what DB expects to produce in 2016. They produced 62K last year.

Jon Urch said...

My only comment is you may be over-estimating how picky ABI is. I suspect (based on a few things I've heard) that for every announced purchase - sorry, partnership - there are 7-10 declined offers or deals gone bad behind closed doors.


Don't overlook the 2007 (!) creation by Anheuser-Busch (before InBev) of Coastal Brewing of Delaware (merging Fordham of Maryland with Old Dominion of Virginia).

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