Mighty small business slayer and long-time money worshipper, Beer Voltron (a.k.a. Anheuser-Busch InBev) is making more power moves in its home turf of Europe. 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., is taking its American portfolio to Europe. Reports are that 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). From an article in The Telegraph:
Toby Cowan, who heads up the new division, said the new Goose Island Vintage Ale House chain will offer customers “a different style of beer than many people are used to.” Mr Cowan said its 760-ml bottles of barrel-aged beers, often fermented using fruit and wild yeast, have more in common with wines than many commercial beers. The bitter brews pair well with food which will be a key focus of the 35-seat pilot project, he added.
The first Vintage Ale House will be in Balham, south west London. Staff recruitment began earlier this week, saying the “well-funded, rapidly expanding” chain will offer a menu inspired by American smoke houses.
American craft beer definitely has some big opportunities in the competitive beer market of Europe. We’ve seen Stone open up its Stone Brewing Berlin World Bistro and Gardens; Stone even has a brewery onsite producing beer for 18 different European countries. Brooklyn Brewery is also making some power moves right now in Europe (and Japan!). For over a decade, NYC’s famous brand has been building a budding partnership with Carlsberg. In 2015, Brooklyn teamed up with Carlsberg to open Nya Carnegiebryggeriet in Stockholm, Sweden. In April of this year, it announced that it was welcoming E.C. Dahls Brewery in Trondheim, Norway, into the Brooklyn Brewery Carlsberg family. Now, Carlsberg will be distributing Brooklyn’s impressive craft selection in the United Kingdom.
Beyond distribution, these pubs, breweries and restaurants are becoming popular, money-making beer destinations and another way to infiltrate a busy beer market with on-the-ground branding and presence. It’s also another way to grow without just brewing and selling beer via the world’s various complex distribution systems. But there are still challenges in this sector. According to The Telegraph article:
[Beer Voltron’s] latest move into pub-restaurants comes as the industry faces rising cost pressures due to increases for business rates and the National Living Wage and a deluge of branded eateries on the high street which has increased competition in the sector.
The article goes on to mention that AB InBev is planning another Goose Island pub in London in the future, along with a third destination in its home country of Belgium.