After receipt of the required regulatory clearance and satisfaction of other customary conditions Craft Brew Alliance (CBA) and Anheuser-Busch (A-B) today jointly announced the closing of their expanded partnership agreement which was already agreed upon last year. In November 2019 A-B said to buy the remaining shares in CBA it does not already own (inside.beer, 11.11.2019).
In order “to maintain competition in the beer industry in Hawaii benefiting consumers”, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) requested to divest CBA’s Kona Brewing operations in Hawaii — which includes a new 100,000-barrel (117,000 hl) brewery that is still under construction — to a an independent group of investors headed by former Anheuser-Busch president David Peacock (inside-beer, 10.6.2020). However, ties between the new owner of the Hawaii operations and A-B remain close and people close to the matter see in A-B’s former president and his company a Trojan horse to guarantee a smooth deal.
The remaining breweries of CBA, including Kona Brewing Co.'s mainland and international operations and regional brands Appalachian Mountain Brewery, Cisco Brewers, Omission Brewing Co., Redhook Brewery, Square Mile Cider Co., Widmer Brothers Brewing, and Wynwood Brewing Co. will join A-B's Brewers Collective, the craft business unit of A-B that already has a portfolio of 13 craft brewers and cider makers.
The cooperation already goes back more than 25 years, when Widmer Brothers Brewery and Redhook Brewery, which formed the nucleus of what became later CBA, sold minority stakes to A-B in exchange for guaranteed access to its nationwide distribution network.
Andy Thomas, formerly CEO of CBA, and Christine Perich, formerly Chief Financial and Strategy Officer for CBA, have officially joined A-B’s Brewers Collective business unit overlooking 17 of the division’s 23 brands and report directly to Michaelis. Thomas will serve as GM of Kona Brewing Co.'s mainland operations and regional Brewers Collective brands based in the eastern U.S. and Perich will serve as GM of regional breweries on the west coast. A-B’s existing national craft brands Goose Island, Golden Road and Elysian Brewing will continue to be overseen by Todd Ahsmann, who also manages the Virtue Cider brand, Dan Hamill, and Kyle Fitzsimmons, respectively. Meg Gill, currently vice president of marketing for the Brewers Collective, will overlook the LQD and pH Experiment innovation teams.
In connection with the closing, CBA shareholders will receive USD 16.50 in cash per share of Craft Brew Alliance common stock, as previously announced. As a result of the completion of the expanded partnership, CBA's common stock will cease trading on the NASDAQ Global Select Market effective today.
"CBA's dynamic breweries have the same commitment to authenticity and entrepreneurial spirit that has enabled our craft partners to grow as members of Brewers Collective," said Marcelo "Mika" Michaelis, president, Brewers Collective, Anheuser-Busch. "By prioritizing home markets, building an unmatched innovation pipeline, and developing effective marketing, we have been able to achieve success locally and nationally, and we're excited to take this next step with CBA."
"Connecting with consumers through our brands is at the forefront of everything we do," said Michel Doukeris, CEO of Anheuser-Busch. "After a successful partnership that spans more than 25 years, we are excited to now fully welcome CBA into the A-B family and continue to work together to bring more consumers, in more communities, even more choices for every occasion."
The expanded Brewers Collective craft business unit now employs more than 3,200 people at more than 40 breweries, facilities, pubs and taprooms. These craft breweries have a shared commitment to the communities where they live and work, having