The Willamette Week broke the news locally that Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest beer company and producer of Budweiser, has bought out the remaining stake in the Craft Brew Alliance, whose brands include one of Portland’s oldest breweries, Widmer Brothers. Though the powerhouse company has had some stake in the Portland-based CBA for years, this deal means that ABInBev will have full ownership.
A press release on the CBA website reads, “Today’s announcement represents an exciting next step in a long and successful partnership with Anheuser-Busch, whose support for the growth of our business and brands traces back over 25 years,” said Andy Thomas, CEO of CBA. “By combining our resources, our talented teammates, and dynamic brands, we will look to nurture the growth of CBA’s existing portfolio as we continue investing in innovation to meet the changing needs of today’s beverage consumers, all while delivering certainty of value to our shareholders.”
The fairly standard phrasing for this kind of acquisition doesn’t reveal much about the future of Widmer Brothers or the other brands under the CBA label. More than likely, Widmer will continue producing its beers with the same team, as often enough AB InBev is fairly hands-off of its breweries. It may even been a boon to Widmer, which closed its historic brewpub back in January of this year. However, this is just another step towards consolidation of breweries under one mega-corporation — likely, not everyone will thrilled.