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Karbach Bought out by Anheuser Busch

 

Karbach Bought out by Anheuser-Busch

It’s a sad day in Houston, but a great day at Karbach. News was released at 9:51am today by Houston Business Journal: Karbach Bought out by Anheuser Busch. That’s not how they worded it, though.

As a business owner, I couldn’t be happier for them. It’s kinda annoying when craft beer people get bitter and talk trash when breweries sell out. If you had a family and some big time business threw a couple million at you, you’d sell out too!

But the other side of the coin has me pissed like everybody else. “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” is trash, and with their aggressive growth, they could’ve definitely expanded without selling to AB-Inbev. It just would’ve taken longer.

 

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As long as the recipes don’t suffer, I might drink their beer every now and again (when I’m somewhere that doesn’t offer a true-craft option), but since Karbach was bought out by Anheuser-Busch, we damn sure won’t be writing about it. I might still review the stuff I have waiting around in my fridge, but only because I know it’s untainted!

Chris, one of our founders and authors, began his love for craft beer with Karbach, and they’ve been his favorite brewery in town. Tam, Chris and his family and I actually had lunch there the day before yesterday, so we could try some Fresh Nugs! If we only knew Karbach would be bought out by Anheuser-Busch, we woulda had lunch somewhere else for sure…

It’ll probably hurt their business a little bit in the beginning, as the aforementioned backlash and bad PR rolls out, but 90% of people won’t know, and Karbach will be reaching a much bigger audience, so they’ll be selling more beer. Duh. Those 90% of people will still see that tap handle or 6 pack and get it, thinking it’s the same craft they’ve known and loved, and they’ll still drink it up. It’ll never truly be the same beer, though.

 

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The following is what Houston Business Journal reported:

“Karbach Brewing Co., one of Houston’s fastest-growing breweries, is being acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE: BUD), the parent company behind Budweiser beer.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Karbach was founded in 2011 and has seen extreme growth since then. It opened its new brew house restaurant in 2015. The expansion was necessary to help fuel the company’s rapid growth.

 

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Karbach will be folded into AB-InBev’s craft beer division, The High End. The brand includes major craft breweries including Goose Island, Blue Point, 10 Barrel, Elysian, Golden Road, Virtue Cider, Four Peaks, Breckenridge Brewery, Devils Backbone and SpikedSeltzer, according to a statement.

Chuck and I started the brewery five years ago on Karbach Street in Houston, where the warehouse was located for the beer distribution company we started decades before. After watching so much great beer move through our warehouse over the years, we decided it was time to add our own to that list. Karbach is the heart and soul of our beer industry careers, and we are thrilled about this new partnership with The High End and what it will mean for our dream to give more Texans the most unique, unexpected and exciting beers they’ll have fun drinking.

For AB-InBev, the deal comes at a time when it is trying to push through a $103 billion merger with MillerCoors, which is a joint venture between Molson Coors (NYSE: TAP) and London-based SABMiller (LON: SAB). If the deal went through, it would create creating the largest brewery company on the planet. Shareholders for both companies approved the merger in September.

AB-InBev has also made a series of craft brewery acquisitions over the past couple of years, acquiring Breckenridge, Colorado-based Breckenridge Brewery in 2015, among several others.
Duff and Phelps acted as financial adviser to Karbach Brewing Co., according to a statement.”

They also made this brief announcement on their Facebook page, to soften the blow:

We’re excited to announce that we’ve entered into a partnership with Anheuser-Busch to join their High End division. In the 5 years we’ve in business, we’ve been blown away by the outpouring of support for our beers and culture. In fact, we’ve been overwhelmed with brewing and selling quality beer to drinkers across Texas. This partnership will allow us to continue to grow and focus more on brewing new and exciting beers for you to enjoy. We’re still a Texas brewery, with Texas employees, making great Texas beer on Karbach Street.

While I have some empathy for the decision as a whole, collectively we think this sucks for craft beer. These guys were supposed to crush big beer. Now you’re reading a post with the headline “Karbach bought out by Anheuser-Busch”. What do you think, though? Let us know below.

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Tony D
tony.d@beerchronicle.com

Tony's an artist that loves craft brew almost as much as he does Houston. He's worked in the oil industry and owns a few small businesses. Tony isn't picky when it comes to beer types, as long as it's refreshing and sessionable.

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