AB InBev has surpassed Boston Beer Co. to become the nation’s biggest craft brewer, according to a recent report by Beer Marketer's INSIGHTS. AB InBev’s craft beer divison, which consists of breweries like 10 Barrel Brewing, Blue Point Brewing, Breckenridge Brewery, Devils Backbone Brewing, Elysian Brewing, Four Peaks Brewing, Golden Road Brewing, Goose Island Beer, Karbach Brewing, Veza Sur Brewing, Virtue Cider and Wicked Weed Brewing grew year-to-date through June 3 20% to $107.3 million while Boston Beer lost 6.5% to $94.4 million in the same period.
Just last month, AB InBev reorganized its former High End Beer Division with import brands on the one side to be managed by AnheuserBusch’s core sales and marketing teams under the supervision of Brendan Whitworth, the company’s vice president of sales, and Marcel Marcondes, vice president of marketing.and a craft beer division on the other side to stay independent under Felipe Szpigel, former president of the High End Beer Division. (inside.beer, 11.7.2018)
According to the strict rules of the American Brewers Association AB InBev’s breweries do not count as craft breweries because more than 25% of its shares are “owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by a beverage alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.” However in the light of recent developments in the industry it seems doubtful if this definition will hold true in the future. It seems hard or impossible to teach consumers the difference between “real” craft brewers and those who taste and feel like craft brewers but do not fall under the arbitrary definition of an industry organization. It seems fairer to differentiate between privately owned independent brewers and those which belong to large brewing groups - a classification which is successfully used in other countries like the UK, Germany and Australia (inside.beer, 29.8.2017).