USA: Craft Brew Alliance dissolves its Emerging Business Division

Craft Brew Alliance (CBA), which is 32.2% owned by AB InBev and which is according to their own website the fifth largest craft brewing company in the U.S., announced a change in strategy and dissolved its Emerging Business Division. As a consequence John Glick, who served as the Vice President of the company’s Emerging Business Division, will leave the business to “pursue other business opportunities.” The company has promoted Karmen Olson, who had been serving as the Director of Emerging Business Partnerships and reporting to Glick, to the newly created role of Director of Innovation within CBA.

The move reflects a shift in strategy with focus more on innovation, instead of mergers and acquisitions. CBA has lately faced severe headwinds and lost more than 5 per cent of its sales last year (, 18.12.2017).

In order to streamline production, the company sold last December for $24.5 million its underutilized Redhook brewing facility and adjacent Forecasters Pub in Woodinville, Washington, to a real estate firm.

In November 2017 the company also announced to change its strategy to shift focus of its Widmer Brothers brewpubs from food to beer. (, 14.11.2017)

CBA is headquartered in Portland, Oregon and operates breweries and brewpubs across the U.S. CBA beers are available in all 50 U.S. states and 30 different countries around the world.

CBA was originally formed in 2008 with the merger of two pioneering Pacific Northwest craft brewers — Redhook Brewery, established in Seattle in 1981, and Widmer Brothers Brewing, established in Portland, OR in 1984. The merger was the first of its kind in the craft brewing industry.

Together, as Craft Brew Alliance, Redhook and Widmer Brothers gained an expanded brewery footprint, shared resources and access to a seamless national distribution network that enabled them to bring originals like Widmer Brothers Hefe and Redhook ESB to beer lovers across the U.S.

Kona Brewing, Hawaii’s oldest and largest craft brewery established in 1994, was the third legacy brewer to join the Alliance in 2010, and today Kona is CBA’slargest brand family. Kona is a top 10 national craft beer brand, known for its distinctive Island-inspired brands such as Big Wave Golden Ale and Longboard Island Lager.

CBA has formed strategic partnerships with Appalachian Mountain Brewery in Boone Creek, North Carolina in 2014), Cisco Brewers, Nantucket, Massachusetts in 2015 and Wynwood Brewing Company from Miami, Florida in 2016. (, 17.12.2016)

In addition CBA has reached an agreement with Resignation Brewery in Austin, Texas in 2013 to brew and market their very successful KCCO brand.

In addition to growing and nurturing distinctive brands rooted in local heritage, CBA is committed to developing innovative new category leaders, such as Omission Beer, which was born in 2012 as a passion project for CBA’s brewmaster whose wife is gluten intolerant. Today, Omission is the #1 beer in the gluten free beer segment. Square Mile Cider, was launched in 2013 and is now the #2 hard cider in the Pacific Northwest.

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