AB InBev is rapidly expanding its international footprint in the craft beer sector through its Goose Island brand. The company announced the opening of 4 new Brewhouse Pubs within the next few months. The brewhouse pubs, which have their brewing facility on-premise, are opening up this month in Sao Paolo, Brazil; Seoul, South Korea; and Shanghai, China. Toronto, Canada will follow early in 2017 and Philadelphia/ Pennsylvania is scheduled to open in summer.
On top AB InBev launched a second line of "Goose Island Vintage Ale House" pubs, which in contrast to the brewhouse pubs do not brew the beer on-site. The first of its kind opened these days in London /United Kingdom and a second one is planned during the course of next year in Brussels / Belgium.
John Hall, Founder and for 29 years CEO of Goose Island Beer Company, is proud of the new concept: “We have spent the best part of 30 years honing our craft and now is the time to bring that craft to the UK – we are truly excited to share what we have created.” And he hints also to a possible future extension: “We have one eye on the future and we would love to do a GI brew pub in London. But for now we want to make sure we have got this one right.”
Goose Island Brewery was established in 1988 as one of the first craft breweries in the U.S. The first brewpub was opened in Lincoln Park in Chicago/Illinois and named after a nearby island. A larger brewery opened in 1995, and a second brewpub in 1999 in close-by Wrigleyville. In 2011 AB InBev bought the brewing business of Goose Island but without the brewpubs. The Wrigleyville site had to close by the end of 2015 over a lease dispute. Early this year, AB InBev also bought the remaining brewpub in Lincoln Park/Chicago at an undisclosed sum.
Goose Island is the oldest of several craft breweries under the umbrella of AB InBev’s High End Division, Other breweries include Blue Point, 10 Barrel, Elysian, Golden Road, Four Peaks, Breckenridge, Devils Backbone and Karbach. According to a definition by the Brewers Association, all the breweries, which are owned or controlled by AB InBev or other major brewing conglomerates, are not considered as craft breweries any longer. Not withstanding Chicago-based market research firm IRI ranks Goose Island amongst the 10 largest craft breweries in the United States.