The Chicago Tribune reported today that the largest craft brewer in the United States is now...AB InBev, AKA Anheuser-Busch:
Between 2011 and 2017, Anheuser-Busch bought 10 breweries from coast to coast, beginning with Chicago’s Goose Island Beer Co. and ending (for now) with Wicked Weed Brewing of Asheville, N.C. In between, it picked up breweries in Oregon (10 Barrel), Virginia (Devils Backbone), Seattle (Elysian), Los Angeles (Golden Road), Houston (Karbach) and the metro areas of Phoenix (Four Peaks), Denver (Breckenridge) and New York City (Blue Point).
Anheuser-Busch’s shopping spree appears to have paid off. Last month, industry newsletter Beer Marketer’s Insights reported that the beer giant has surged past Boston Beer and Sierra Nevada in 2018 to become the nation’s top craft beer company in terms of dollar sales.
To be clear, Anheuser-Busch’s craft beer supremacy exists in one very specific metric at the moment; IRI tracks sales in grocery, big box, drug and convenience stores. When factoring in draft and liquor store sales, Beer Marketer’s Insights estimates that Boston Beer remains ahead of Anheuser-Busch in terms of both volume and dollar sales. But the passing of that torch is all but an inevitability during the next year or so.
However, it’s not all good news for Anheuser-Busch’s craft effort.
Its lead horse, Goose Island, had a rough 2017, and 2018 is proving just as difficult. In early August, the Goose Island portfolio was down double digits across the previous three months....
I've said before, part of craft beer's appeal is that it comes from actual craft breweries. And big beer companies don't actually like craft beer—because they can't compete with them.
So, mazel tov to InBev, but I'm going to stick with Revolution, Dovetail, Begyle, and Empircal, all of which brew within a 10-block radius of my house.