In the craft beer world, collaborations between two stellar breweries often result in eager anticipation that send beer geeks running to the beer release. Throw in two breweries that have a reputation for phenomenal sours - like Jester King and Wicked Weed - and you've struck gold. Sadly, the sour beer kings of the Austin, Texas and wild ale experts from Asheville, North Carolina will no longer take part in a scheduled collaboration. Jester King Brewery has announced that they will no longer be doing a collaboration brew with Wicked Weed Brewing due to the recent acquisition by Anheuser-Busch InBev.
The news for the canceled collaboration came just after Wicked Weed's announcement. In response to the decision, Jester King founder Jeff Stuffings posted on the company website:
"We have some core principles that define who we are as a brewery, and those principles must not be compromised. One of our core principles is that we do not sell beer from AB In-Bev or its affiliates. We've chosen this stance, not because of the quality of the beer, but because a portion of the money made off of selling it is used to oppose the interests of craft brewers."
Stuffings further went on to say that,
"We think Wicked Weed beer is some of the best in the world. Their talent, techniques, and patience produces some of the most beautiful beer we've ever tasted. That, combined with their great friendship, is what makes this decision so tough for us. But like we said, our core values must be paramount at the end of the day."
On Sunday, November 20th at Noon, we’ll be releasing Wicked Weed / Jester King Red Atrial at our tasting room! Red Atrial is a 50/50 blend of Wicked Weed Brewing Red Angel with Jester King Atrial Rubicite. Wicked Weed then took the blend and refermented it with another four pounds per barrel of fresh raspberries. We have 500 bottles of Red Atrial available (500ml/$26) with a limit of one bottle per customer. We’ll also have bottles of Wicked Weed La Bonté Plum, Marina, Oblivion, Dark Age, Old Fashioned, La Bonte Pear, Amorous, and Silencio for sale to go. Red Atrial will be available by the glass at our tasting room, and we’ll rotate through several other draft beers from Wicked Weed such as La Bonté Plum, Marina, Oblivion, Parking Lot Grisette, Medora, Montmaretto, Dark Age, Old Fashioned, La Bonte Pear, Myrtle, Brettaberry, Garcon de Ferme, and Silencio. Finally, we’re excited to have Wicked Weed Founder/Head Blender Walt Dickinson at Jester King on Sunday for the event for the release! Please come out, enjoy all the great Wicked Weed beers, and meet Walt! @wickedweedbrewing
While the beer may still be Wicked Weed's, the company is no longer craft. Working with them now would mean working with AB InBev which goes against their values and political stances, which is something that Jester King has vowed they will not do.
Sadly, their business relationship has come to an end. That means no more collaborations like Red Artiral. This isn't the first shocking news about a craft brewery being bought out by AB InBev.
AB InBev has a reputation for shopping around, buying up the little man, and eliminating competition. Jester King's neighbor, Karbach Brewing Co., was the ninth acquisition by AB InBev.
Seattle's Elysian Brewing and Chicago's Goose Island are a couple other big names that were taken over by AB InBev. While they aren't the only company buying up smaller breweries, they are certainly the largest.
As for what will happen to Jester King's friend Wicked Weed and its sister site, the Funkatorium, only time will tell. Hopefully though, some staples like Oblivion and Black Angel will stick around.