Anheuser-Busch buys Goose Island

AB has picked up a controlling share of Goose Island for $38.8M. This expands on AB’s move to buy into the craft brewing market with their 34% stake in Redhook and 40% share of Widmer. AB along with their parent company, In-Bev, have made no bones about their acquisition strategy in the beer and spirits market, so this isn’t a great surprise. Goose Island is happy to take on the capital infusion and already had a distribution partnership with AB. That said, I’m sure GI fans are doing a bit of hand wringing about the purchase. Jim Hall, the head brewmaster will be stepping down and it’s been reported that Brett Porter from Deschutes will take over, but I’ve not seen more than just a tweet regarding Brett.

The obvious questions regarding continued quality of the Goose Island line are the hot topic and time will tell if the $1.3M expansion AB is pouring into the brewing facility will allow GI to scale up successfully. The bottom line seems to be that demand for GI’s beers outstripped their capacity and AB’s investment will allow them to up production. The fact that AB is investing in the local facility and keeping all production in Chicago bodes well. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Announcement on Goose Island’s website.

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