It’s happening! Anheuser-Busch InBev (Bud) is taking over the world. Just in the last half of December, Bud announced it was buying Tempe-based Four Peaks Brewing, Colorado’s Breckenridge Brewery and Camden Town Brewery in London. Four Peaks is a nearly 20-year-old brewer with pubs in Tempe, Scottsdale and the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
This comes on top of InBev’s 2015 acquisitions of 10 Barrel Brewing (Oregon) and Elysian Brewing Company (Washington). The purchases come on the heels of Bud’s rich incentive plan for its distributors to concentrate on Bud-owned brands.
Brewbound.com reports 25 craft brewers were acquired or had major investments made in them in 2015.
I’ve been observing the craft-beer business since 1980 and what is happening with the big guys buying the little guys is a paradigm change.
Financial technology company SmartAsset did a survey of craft brewing by city across the country. It looked at total number of breweries, per capita breweries, per capita bars and average cost of a point of beer. After crunching all those numbers, it ranked “beer cities.” According to the survey, the best beer city is Portland, Maine, followed by Asheville, North Carolina; Portland, Oregon; Billings, Montana; and Denver.
I don’t know that I buy all the factors it looked at, but it’s still fun to look at these surveys.
I checked in with Allen Conger, owner of 1912 Brewing. He’s been open just over six months and says they’re “getting into a rhythm” and hiring some employees. He’s been collaborating with others, such as Ermanos and Borderlands. And, he’s working on a whiskey barrel-aged offering in conjunction with Hamilton Distillers (Del Bac brand).
In addition to his tasting room at 2045 N. Forbes Blvd., near Grant Road and Interstate 10, 1912’s beers can be found at Arizona Beer House, Tucson Hop Shop, Ermanos and Borderlands.
Before Christmas I found a Sierra Nevada-Stone IPA collaboration (in a 22-ounce bottle). It was tasty. For Christmas I received a six-pack of Alpine (San Diego County) Beer Company’s Pure Hoppiness. Darn good. I understand the IPA developed quite a following in San Diego, but distribution was limited. It was acquired by Green Flash and has greater production and distribution capabilities and is available in Tucson (mine came from the Tucson Hop Shop).
I had a heck of a time finding winter/Christmas beers in December. It seems like they used to be available around town. This year, not so much. I could find a few but not a large selection. Most brewers make at least one Christmas offering. I like to shop local, but I found the largest selection at Total Wine.
It’s gonna be an interesting year for beer aficionados. Hoppy New Year!