Unsatisfied with simply owning all of the retail shelf space and tap handles across the country, AB-InBev (aka Beer Voltron) will now be reaching into every garage and basement across the country. It is being reported everywhere that through a venture capital firm that it backs, ZX Ventures, AB InBev is acquiring Northern Brewer Homebrew Supplies and sister company Midwest Supplies. Here is one such report. Northern Brewer had this to say in that Business Journal article:
“I want to be clear about what this means for Northern Brewer. Nothing will fundamentally change as the result of this deal — in fact, things will only get better. Northern’s leadership team will remain in charge and the company will continue to be independent.”
Will be interesting to see if there is any impact to Northern Brewer’s customer base after this news despite likely nothing customer-facing changing about its offering. We know that craft beer customers have adverse reactions to hearing similar news about their favorite breweries, but outside of craft beer message boards, with such greater distribution and economies of scale post-Big Beer acquisition, such a reaction is unlikely to negatively impact a craft brewery’s bottom line. But the person into homebrewing? I don’t know. That’s not exactly a casual beer sipping consumer.
And now we make jokes
Anyway, what’s this ZX Ventures stuff? To learn more, here is the intro on their website:
We are brewing up the future.
We are a global disruptive growth group, incubator, and venture capital team backed by one of the largest multinational companies in the world, Anheuser-Busch InBev. Our trade is dreaming up what the future looks like, today. We are a small army of futurists, dreamers, doers, designers, engineers, scientists, marketers, brewers, builders, and data geeks. For us, the future is now.
We couldn’t help but roll our eyes at the label “disruptor,” an economic term normally reserved for those who up-end industry/market norms, not those who are backed by the norms in order to re-norm everything just as they are being disrupted. But, seriously, good luck to this plucky army of geeks and dreamers, backed by the biggest corporate beer conglomerate in the universe as they make the future happen today. We assume it will look something like this.