It’s no secret that a battle is waging between Big Beer and the craft beer industry. Big Beer has been buying up the competition and people are not happy. As a result, craft breweries and beer drinkers alike have taken action to fight back. From voicing opinions on social media to launching a campaign to buyout AB InBev, those for craft aren’t giving in without a fight. Yet despite all the outrage, breweries are still continuing to sellout to Big Beer. While each brewery has their own valid reasons, the domino effect of buyouts isn’t slowing.
Unless you’ve been keeping up with your headline news, you may have no idea that a beer brand you love is no longer a small, independent brewery – to see what defines a craft brewery click here. In order to make the power of purchase more transparent for the consumer, in 2017 the Brewers Association developed a seal that craft breweries could label their product with, distinguishing them from big beer. Some breweries still have yet to adorned their product with the label, which can still create some confusion for consumers.
So who in recent years has succumbed to Big Beer? By now you’re probably familiar with the fact that breweries like Goose Island Brewery and Golden Road Brewing have been bought out. But what other breweries out there have sold to Big Beer? From coast to coast, here are 14 breweries that you may not know are no longer considered craft beer.
1. Elysian Brewing
Location: Seattle, Wash.
Sorry all you Space Dust and Day Glow IPA fans, Elysian sold to Anheuser-Busch InBev back in 2015. Apparently their “corporate beer still sucks” slogan for their Loser Pale Ale didn’t stop them from giving in to the dark side.
2. 10 Barrel Brewing Co.
Location: Bend, Ore.
Their Cucumber Crush may be as refreshing as drinking a glass of cucumber water itself, but what’s not refreshing was the their buyout in 2014.
3. Breckenridge Brewery
Location: Littleton, Colo.
You should probably grab an #oatmealstout for your last weekend of #stoutmonth. FYI, the cool moon man on the label was originally designed as an allusion to dark night skies, for this dark, mellow brew. When we rebranded recently we knew moon man wasn't goin' anywhere, so we just gave him a fresh mountain look. 🌛🌜⠀ ⠀ #darkbeer #stoutseason #breckbrew #beerart #rebranding #sixpacks #beerbranding #bottleart #labelart #beerdesign #coloradocraftbeer
Colorado is home to some of the best craft beer in the nation. Unfortunately for Breckenridge Brewery, they are no longer on that list. In 2015 they were bought out by AB InBev, becoming part of their high end portfolio.
4. Avery Brewing Co.
Location: Boulder, Colo.
Another beloved Colorado brewery to bite the dust, Avery sold off 30 percent of their company to Mahou San Miguel based in Madrid, Spain. Those rascals!
5. Blue Point Brewing Company
Location: Long Island, N.Y.
Craft beer buyouts don’t come without a hefty price. In 2014, Blue Point sold to AB InBev for $24 million. That’s a lot of dough! But it’s still not the biggest buyout.
6. Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company
Location: Roseland, Va.
Once the leading craft brewery in Virginia, Devil’s Backbone joined AB InBev’s high end portfolio in 2016.
7. Ballast Point Brewing Company
Location: San Diego, Calif.
Sculpin IPA is known for its fruity and tropical notes from Simcoe and Amarillo hops and a dry finish. An approachable IPA that's been known to change the minds of people who "don't like IPA's." With the Unfiltered Sculpin, we wanted to add extra hops and really let those apricot, peach and lemon notes shine while softening the bitterness. This extra-hopped version celebrates what we love about the original Sculpin, and then some. Because of the extra hops, it's important to store cold and drink fresh!
In 2017, San Diego’s beloved Ballast Point sold for a whopping $1 billion to Constellation Brands. As a former employee before the buyout I have my own feelings on this, but all I’ll say is good for you Jack. You deserve every penny.
8. Anchor Brewing Co.
Location: San Francisco, Calif.
This old time brewery that managed to survive Prohibition and bring the good people steam beer sold for $85 million to Japan’s Sapporo Holding’s Ltd.
9. Lagunitas Brewing Company
Location: Petaluma, Calif.
Limited Release #UndercoverInvestigationShutDownAle is making its rounds to your 20 right now. Hear the tale of the 2005 St. Patrick’s Day Massacre that gave this Unforgiven & Unrepentant brew its name on our website > www.LAGUNITAS.com/Beer/Undercover. • 📸🍻: Arf Arf, ruff-ruff, bark… to @BarleyTheBrewPup for being such a good boy and sharing this awesome pic with us! #beerspeaksdogsdrool
Lagunitas buyout didn’t happen all at once. The maker’s that brought us Undercover Shutdown Ale first sold off half the company for roughly $500 million to Heineken. Then in 2017 they sold off the rest.
10. Founders Brewing Co.
Location: Grand Rapids, Mich.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but Founders is not technically craft. In 2014, they sold 30 percent of the company to Mahou San Miguel. According to the Brewers Association’s definition of craft, Founders no longer can claim the craft name.
11. Four Peaks Brewing Co.
Location: Tempe, Ariz.
In 2015, Four Peaks became another High End name on the AB InBev list. That didn’t stop them though from glory. In 2016 Four Peaks made a big splash at the World Beer Cup when they took home a gold medal for their scottish ale Kilt Lifter.
12. Karbach Brewing Co.
Location: Houston, Texas
Karbach may have been part of Texas’ thriving craft beer scene, but in 2016 they were met by disappointed fans when they sold to Budweiser owner Anheuser-Busch.
13. Wicked Weed
Location: Asheville, NC
Today the Brewpub and the Funkatorium we will be tapping Belgian Pale Ale, a beer that’s pale ale in style and belgian at heart. $1 of every pour will be donated to benefit the YMCA of Western North Carolina. The Y’s promise is to never turn anyone away due to their inability to pay. Proceeds will go to support programs in community health, nutrition outreach, and cancer survivorship. #WickedWeed #BelgianPaleAle #YMCA
The craft beer community became outraged when Wicked Weed was bought out by AB InBev in 2017. In a brutal response from beer fans and friends in the industry alike, Wicked Weed experienced a serious backlash that resulted in bottle shops discontinuing the brand, cancelled craft brewery collaborations, and more than 50 breweries pulling out from their Funkatorium Invitational. Probably not the response they hoped for.
14. Terrapin Beer Co.
Location: Athens, Ga.
Not all buyouts create a racket like Wicked Weed. Terrapin Beer Co. for example, was rather quite about the purchase. While they had been one of Georgia’s most beloved brewery since 2002, they decided to seal the deal and sell to MillerCoors in 2016.