Beer Voltron grows bored. After the long-anticipated, $100-billion-plus merger between Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller last year (the third largest acquisition in the history of acquisitions), AB InBev (a.k.a. Beer Voltron) isn’t going to let billions in revenue and a few anti-trust laws keep it from expanding and eating ever more market share around the world — lest it run low on the investor returns that fuels its steely, greed-powered thingy you’d maybe call a heart.
The Belgium-based brewing giant, which owns famed big beer brands from Budweiser to Beck’s and infamous “craft beer” brands from Elysian Brewing Co. to Devils Backbone Brewing Co., has had a new strategy of late — capitalize on the popularity of destination breweries by opening in strategic locations. The U.S. government has basically said, “yo Beer Voltron, you can’t buy any more breweries in the United States without our approval because, like, you control about 45 percent of the market. That’s not cool. Also, that’s not good for competition, growth, diversity and the consumer.”
But Beer Voltron’s all like, “Chumps, I’ll just start my own breweries and give them cool sounding craft names. Or better yet: I’ll just start destination breweries with the brands I’ve already assimilated. Wait! I’ll do both. Mua-HA-HA!”
- Since Golden Roads’ acquisition by AB InBev in 2015, LA’s biggest brewhouse has been aggressively expanding in distribution all over the United States and in brewing destinations all over California. The brewery is currently constructing a brewing outpost in Anaheim, has already secured space in LA’s Grand Central Market and even opened a restaurant at LAX (its Point the Way Café). Golden Road has also announced new destinations in both Sacramento (last year) and (now) in Oakland.
- Beer Voltron is opening a chain of pubs based on its Goose Island Beer Co. brand in the Euro community (yes, Goose Island is owned by Bud if you didn’t know). AB InBev is planning two Goose Island pubs in London, along with a third destination in its home country of Belgium.
- AB InBev just announced it was adding another brand to its “High-End” portfolio (its so called craft- and import-focused brands) with the launch of Veza Sur Brewing Co. in Miami this summer. The beverage roll-up has turned to two of its properties, Colombia’s Bogota Beer Co. and Oregon’s 10 Barrel Brewing, to make it all happen. According to the Miami New Times:
Veza Sur is set to open at 55 NW 25th St. early this summer. The 10,000-square-foot space will include a 15-barrel DME brewhouse and a 5,000-square-foot taproom with a terrace.
The brewery gets its name from a mashup of “cerveza” and “sur” — a nod to its Colombian half. Veza Sur was inspired by the travels of twin brothers and 10 Barrel Brewing cofounders Chris and Jeremy Cox. They, along with Max-Antonio Burger, who is in charge of new ventures and innovation at Anheuser-Busch InBev, traveled to South America to explore its beer, food, and culture.
It definitely sounds exotic, and we’re definitely seeing AB InBev looking to go exotic in specific regional markets with the localized brewing brands its purchased (or is creating), and let’s not forget Beer Voltron has bought nine American craft breweries over the past six years. Very soon (if not already), one of those brands will be in your neighborhood — and not just on the grocery store shelf or on tap at bars — but as an actual entertainment beer destination that will help grow its brand presence in specific markets.
Do you think they’ll carry other AB InBev brands on their tap lists too? We’re guessing yes. From the same article:
Veza Sur cofounder and master brewer Asbjorn Gerlach has quite a resumé. The founder of Kross Brewery, the second-largest brewery in Chile, the German native brings more than two dozen years of brewing experience to Wynwood.
Gerlach will concentrate on eight beers to start, including two lagers (Latin and dark varieties), a session IPA, an IPA, a Belgian witbier, a coffee porter, a red ale on nitro, and a Berliner Weisse with guava. Additional guest taps will feature local breweries.
You know, local brands like Blue Point and Karbach.