The long romance of Anheuser-Busch and Craft Brew Alliance is one step closer to an official union. Last week, it was announced that beer, cider and botanical spritzer rollup Craft Brew Alliance (home to brands like Kona and Widmer Brothers) and Anheuser-Busch have entered into an agreement with the United States Department of Justice, allowing Anheuser-Busch to purchase CBA for an estimated $222 million. According to the press release:
The companies’ agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice comes after CBA shareholder approval of the proposed expanded partnership and CBA and A-B’s decision to sell CBA’s Kona Brewing operations in Hawaii to PV Brewing Partners.
After an awkward back and forth, Anheuser-Busch and CBA finally announced they would actually merge into an even bigger and more menacing beverage alcohol company last November. CBA would enter Anheuser-Busch’s Brewers Collective, a business unit focused on its craft portfolio.
In order to soften the importance of the acquisition, it was announced CBA would sell the Hawaiian headquarters of Kona Brewing Co. to PV Brewing Partners, a team fronted by Schnuck supermarket chain President and former Anheuser-Busch President David Peacock and VantEdge Partners, an investment firm based in Kansas City.
VantEdge owns, among other things, 260 quick-serve restaurants, including Dunkin’, Taco Bell and Jamba and is part of the investment group that owns the Kansas City Royals.
CBA’s combined portfolio (brands like Kona Brewing Co., Appalachian Mountain Brewery, Cisco Brewers, Omission Brewing Co., Redhook Brewery, Square Mile Cider Co., Widmer Brothers Brewing and Wynwood Brewing Co.) made it the 13th largest brewer in the United States in 2019 by sales volume. Formed in 2008 via the merger of Widmer Brothers and Redhook, CBA is headquartered in Portland and operates breweries and brewpubs across America. The history of CBA and AB goes back to important moments like in 1994 when Widmer and Redhook sold minority stakes to A-B and 2011 when CBA sold its stake in Goose Island to A-B. I highly suggest you read this story.
Closing of the combination is expected to occur in the coming weeks. In connection with the closing, CBA shareholders will receive $16.50 in cash per share of Craft Brew Alliance common stock, as previously announced. I could post some quotes here from CBA and Anheuser-Busch execs, but meh, who wants to read that?
CBA and Anheuser-Busch have been in bed together for a quarter of a century, so this acquisition is no surprise, but it’s another reminder of the biggest beer company in the world growing even fatter and more aggressive.