- Heineken will purchase the remaining 50% of Lagunitas Brewing Company, according to FoodBev Media. Two years ago, it acquired the other 50% stake in the company, .
- Anheuser-Busch also acquired craft beer maker Wicked Weed Brewing, and will add it to craft business arm The High End, according to FoodBev Media.
- As ownership shifts, Tony Magee, Lagunitas Brewing’s founder and executive chairman, will stay with the company as its executive chairman.
Craft beer has been rocketing up the sales charts in the U.S., with craft offerings overall comprising approximately 11% of all beer products. That’s in part to the number of breweries soaring over the past decade, with more companies getting involved.
Craft beer makers account for 5,234 of 5,301 U.S. breweries, according to the Brewers Association.
Brewbound and IRI Worldwide recently reported that the total number of breweries in the U.S. increased by more than 3,500 in the 11 years between 2005 and 2016. Much of the growth was attributed to craft brews. However, craft beer’s growth slowed to 4% by volume last year, the first time it hasn’t increased by double-digit percentage points in a dozen years.
Even though the major players in the beer market already hold a substantial market share for the beverage in general, they are still looking to broaden their empire. And as craft beer continues to grow, it is one of the last areas for global beverage titans like AB In Bev to expand.
Since last year's megamerger of AB InBev and SABMiller was approved, it has acquired other smaller breweries to get a leg up in the segment. Other recent craft acquisitions from the beverage giant include Karbach Brewing and Devil’s Backbone.
Jim Koch, founder of Sam Adams and the Boston Beer Company, railed against major brewing companies taking over craft breweries at an industry conference last month. Since AB InBev and Molson Coors already control 90% of U.S. beer production, he called on the Justice Department to prevent further consolidation from occurring.