AB InBev anounced today to buy Platform Beer, the fastest growing regional brewery in the United States in 2017. Platform was founded in 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio by local entrepreneurs Paul Benner and Justin Carson and is known throughout Ohio for their “vast beverage portfolio of award-winning innovative products – creating more than 200 unique beers per year,” AB InBev said in a media release. “The brewery’s unparalleled creativity and experimentation has resulted in more than 600 recipes that include a variety of unique seasonals, sours, ciders and fruit ales, barrel-aged beers, and a line of hard seltzer.”
Platform owns and operates four facilities in Ohio: their flagship Cleveland tasting room, a 60 barrel (BBL) Cleveland-based brewhouse, a tasting room in Columbus which doubles as a distribution center and warehouse, and their Cincinnati Tasting Room and coffee shop concept LOCOBA (local-coffee-barrels). More growth is in store for Platform’s community footprint, including Platform’s first dedicated sour beer brewing facility and on-site tasting room - Phunkenship - opening soon in Cleveland, and a 10 BBL brewery and tasting room in Pittsburgh to open in the near future.
Platform will become part of Brewers Collective, AB InBev’s U.S.craft beer division which emerged last year when the world’s leading brewer split up its High End beer division into a craft beer and an import beer segment (inside.beer, 11.7.2018).
"In speaking with the other craft brewery founders in Brewers Collective, we know partnering with Anheuser-Busch means we will have the resources and the autonomy to bring our vision for Platform Beer Co. to life,” said Platform co-founder Paul Benner. “Being able to continue leading the day-to-day operations was an important factor in our decision and we have no doubt that this partnership will benefit our loyal staff and passionate customer base."
The Brewers Collective bundles already a dozen craft beer partners including Goose Island Brewing, Chicago/Illinois (acquired March 2011); Blue Point Brewing, Long Island/New York (acquired Feb. 2014); 10 Barrel Brewing, Boise/Oregon (acquired Nov. 2014); Elysian Brewing, Seattle/Washington (acquired Jan. 2015); Golden Road Brewing, Los Angeles/California (acquired Sept. 2015); Virtue Cider, Fennville/Michigan (acquired Sept. 2015); Breckenridge Brewing, Denver/Colorado (acquired Dec. 2015); Four Peaks Brewing, Tempe/Arizona (acquired Dec. 2015); Devils Backbone Brewing, Roseland/Virginia (acquired Apr. 2016); Karbach Brewing, Houston/Texas (acquired Nov. 2016, Texas); Wicked Weed Brewing, Asheville/ North Carolina (acquired May 2017); and Veza Sur Brewing, Miami/Florida (founded by AB InBev Veza Sur in August 2017).
In addition to the aforementioned craft breweries, AB InBev owns a minority share of 32.2 percent in Craft Brew Alliance (CBA), according to its own statements fifth largest craft brewing company in the United States. CBA, headquartered in Portland/Oregon, consists of Kona Brewing, Kailua-Kona/Hawaii; Omission Brewing, Portland/Oregon; Widmer Brothers, Portland/Oregon; Redhook Brewery, founded in Seattle/Washington; Cisco Brewers, Nantucket/Massachusetts; Appalachian Mountain Brewery, Boone Creek/North Carolina; Wynwood Brewing, Miami, Florida; Square Mile Cider, Portland/Oregon.
On a worldwide scale, AB InBev has interests in many more craft breweries which are either operated through its local brewing operations in each country or by ZX Ventures, AB InBev’s venture capital division.