Anheuser Busch-InBev is on a craft beer bender, announcing a third acquisition in a five-day span that shows just how important the fast-growing category is to the world's largest brewer.
On Tuesday, AB InBev said it agreed to buy Colorado-based (bud) Breckenridge Brewery, adding a seventh U.S. craft brewer to a portfolio that already includes Goose Island, Blue Point, and Elysian. AB InBev announced a deal with U.K.-based Camden Town Brewery on Monday and scooped up Arizona's Four Peaks Brewing on Friday.
The recent deals are meant to add faster-growing beers to AB InBev's massive portfolio, which already includes Budweiser and Stella Artois. Because the craft brands are tiny in comparison, they won't move AB InBev's sales needle much – though the deals give the craft brewers vast distribution potential.
Breckenridge Brewery is one of the larger craft brands InBev has acquired. It ranked No. 50 on the Brewers Association's 50 largest U.S. craft brewers in 2014, and sales are expected to reach about 70,000 barrels in 2015. With the deal with InBev, it will eventually be removed from that list – as only small, independent brewers can be included.
Breckenridge will continue to produce its current portfolio of beers, ranging from Vanilla Porter to Agave Wheat. Notably, the deal with AB InBev – which is expected to close in the first quarter – includes the company's new production brewery and Farm House restaurant in Littleton and original brewpub in the mountain town of Breckenridge. But other assets, including a location in Denver and the Wynkoop Brewing Company, will remain under the current Breckenridge-Wynkoop management group.
Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.