51 of the 74 breweries scheduled to attend Wicked Weed Brewing’s 2017 Funkatorium Invitational, a local festival featuring craft beer, live music, and food selections from 8 regional chefs, have canceled their participation at the event, following Wicked Weed’s announcement to sell the business to a subsidiary of AB InBev (inside.beer, 4.5.2017). Most of the remaining 23 breweries are still considering a cancellation.
Craft brewers, which are considered a tight-knit community, want to show in this way their discontent over the sellout of independent craft breweries to mega brewers like AB InBev.
Jay Goodwin and Alex Wallash, founders of The Rare Barrel, a sour beer brewery and brewpub in Berkeley, California, expressed their emotions on facebook: “Over the years, we've become good friends with the Wicked Weed crew. We've grown to really respect the people and their beers. … Yesterday, Wicked Weed announced that they are selling their brewery to the megabrewery AB InBev (Budweiser, Shock Top). Here at The Rare Barrel, we've made a decision not to serve, collaborate with, or affiliate with AB InBev because our values do not align with theirs. In order to stay true to our values, we're pulling out of the second part of our collaboration, will not be attending their festivals, and will not be able to serve their beer in our Tasting Room anymore.”
Wicked Weed immediately reacted to the flood of cancellations and postponed the event from July 8 to September 16, 2017. I a statement on their website the company said that “it has become clear that we can no longer host the festival with the original vision in mind. We respect the decisions of those who have decided to no longer attend, and we understand that the impact of bringing this community together is more important than Wicked Weed.”
The Wicked Weed Funkatorium Invitational started in 2014. It is described as “a gathering of sour and wild ales from across the country featuring well established and up and coming breweries that are paving the way for sour and wild craft beer.” It is a charity event, with 100 percent of the profits donated to Asheville’s Eblen Charities, “a charity that works to assist Asheville’s underprivileged community by providing needs including but not limited to healthcare, energy, emergency assistance, and housing.”