The Big Beer interest in craft beer continues, with Anheuser-Busch dipping into its couch cushion and adding Bend, Ore.-based 10 Barrel Brewing to its portfolio. With interest dwindling in its main product portfolio, the AB Inbev addition of 10 Barrel Brewing and its 40,000 bbls is an attempt to diversify. See also the company’s purchase of Blue Point Brewing Co. in February and and its 2011 acquisition of Goose Island Beer Co. for further examples of this new acquisition strategy.
First Beverage Financial, the investment banking arm of First Beverage Group, acted as the financial adviser to 10 Barrel Brewing in its planned sale to Anheuser-Busch. The two parties have entered into a purchase agreement and anticipate closing by the end of 2014. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
10 Barrel was founded by brothers Jeremy and Chris Cox and partner Garrett Wales.
“First Beverage did a great job of understanding our brand and it was clear that they had our best interests in mind throughout the process,” Jeremy Cox said. “They have a very talented team and we feel very fortunate to have worked with them on this project.”
“When we listened carefully to the founders’ goals of finding a partner that would allow them to focus on what they do best – making award-winning, innovative beers, and not managing other operational items – it was clear that Anheuser-Busch met all of these criteria,” said Townsend Ziebold, Managing Partner of First Beverage. “We had a lot of fun working with the founders and we are elated that First Beverage was able to tailor a solution that satisfied all of their objectives.”
News like this always receives the “Big Beer claims another victim” type of treatment, but that isn’t true — this is a business move approved by the owners/operators of 10 Barrel Brewing. As you might expect, the announcement was met mostly by rage and confusion among 10 Barrel Brewing fans, but moves like this can be easy to criticize from the other side of the bar. This sale certainly changes the outlook for the growth of the 10 Barrel Brewing brand, and whether that is for better or worse remains to be seen. Calls from Big Beer will continue to be fielded by breweries around the country — maybe even your own — and it will be interesting to see how many more deals happen in the next several years.
Look, Ted Dibiase tried to tell us. Feel free to add your own two pints to the comments section below.