After a slight diversion in its plans to own a chunk of the craft beer world (it missed on Cigar City) Anheuser-Busch (a.k.a. Beer Voltron) is back on course, announcing an agreement to acquire Devils Backbone Brewing Co. based in Virginia. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Devils Backbone will be the eighth craft brewery since 2011 to duck under the velvet rope and enter into Anheuser-Busch’s new business unit for such acquisitions, called The High End. Devils Backbone adds 60,000 bbls of production (based on 2015 numbers) to the group.
“While we are joining a creative group of craft breweries in the division, Devils Backbone will retain a high level of autonomy and continue its own authentic DNA within The High End framework,” said Steve Crandall, co-founder and CEO of Devils Backbone Brewing Company. “The existing management team plans to stay on board for many years, while continuing to innovate and bring locally crafted Virginia beer to the nation.”
In 2008, founders Steve and Heidi Crandall opened the doors to Devils Backbone Brewing Company in the Virginia Heartland, after being inspired by a ski trip to northern Italy in 1991 where they had their first taste of Germanic style beer. After success with the first brewpub, Basecamp, the decision was made to break ground on the Outpost facility, in Lexington, Va. Originally projected to produce 10,000 bbls of beer in its first 10 years, the Outpost produced almost 45,000 bbls in its first three. Steve credits much of this early success to the excellent network of distributors within his system, which is weighted heavily towards Anheuser-Busch.
Today, the Outpost Brewery and Taproom serves as the primary production brewery while the Basecamp Brewpub and Meadows in Roseland, serves as a visitor destination.
First Beverage Group acted as financial advisor to Devils Backbone Brewing Company. Anheuser-Busch’s partnership with Devils Backbone is expected to close in the second quarter, subject to customary closing conditions.