- Anheuser-Busch InBev's craft brewery purchasing spree isn't slowing. It announced the purchase of Devils Backbone Brewing Company Tuesday morning.
- The company joins "The High End," AB InBev's craft and import brands segment.
- Devils Backbone leadership insists on its future independence within the company, according to a news release.
The beer industry behemoth has been actively acquiring craft breweries — three in five days at the end of 2015 — a trend in line with the rest of the beer industry. It's all in an effort to capitalize on changing consumer needs, but as with any trend, staying power will come with bottom line improvement.
And volume share could make this more and more of a reality. In 2014, craft beer had claimed 11% of the volume market share and 19.3% of the retail market share. In 2015, those numbers jumped to 18.8% of volume market share in key U.S. retail channels and 23.4% of dollar sales, according to IRI Worldwide.
But what does Devils Backbone, founded in 2008, bring to the table? It's the fastest-growing craft brewery in Virginia, according to a news release, and will offer a German brewing style to The High End segment.
What's buried here is the company's Vienna Lager making up about 60% of the company's volume last year. Under AB InBev's wing, perhaps other brands will be able to grow. And for Vienna Lager to keep up its leader status, it may benefit from strong marketing efforts — where AB InBev could be a strong asset.