As 2015 came to a close, Anheuser-Busch InBev purchased three craft breweries in five days, and a handful of other major brewers made their first craft brewery acquisitions in 2015. With this much action surrounding craft beer, it’s clear that major brewers — and the rest of the industry — recognize that the entire landscape of beer manufacturing in the U.S. is shifting.
With dozens of craft beer transactions and even more rumors surfacing in the past year, U.S. beer manufacturers are in for a shift in the overall beer landscape. Whether they distinguish their brands from craft beer or jump on the acquisitions trend, manufacturers will contend with the inevitable growth of craft, as beer industry players say this acquisition spree has only just begun.
2015: A year in review
By Brewbound’s count, at least 24 craft brewery transactions took place last year. Here are a few highlights of craft acquisitions announced by major brewers:
- January: AB InBev and Elysian Brewing
- September: Heineken and Lagunitas Brewing (50% stake)
- September: MillerCoors and Saint Archer Brewing
- September: AB InBev and Golden Road Brewing
- November: Constellation Brands and Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits
- December: AB InBev and Four Peaks Brewing
- December: AB InBev and Breckenridge Brewery