AB InBev buying craft brewer Goose Island for $38.8 million

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Looking to tap deeper into the fast-growing craft beer market, Anheuser-Busch said today it is buying Chicago-based brewer Goose Island.
The $38.8 million deal is set to close by June, pending regulatory approval.
Goose Island will continue to be brewed in Chicago, where A-B plans to invest $1.3 million to boost production capacity by 10 percent, A-B president Dave Peacock said in an interview.
A-B might expand Goose Island’s reach a little beyond it’s current six-to-seven state regional distribution, but there are no plans right now to make Goose Island a national beer, Peacock said.
“This (acquisition) will help us in the Midwest,” Peacock said.
A-B was attracted to Goose Island’s strong showing in beer’s high-end market, filled with craft beers and imports. While overall U.S. beer sales fell flat along with the nation’s economy in recent years, strong growth has still been seen among craft brews.
“We just need to be more competitive there,” Peacock said.
The Goose Island deal is an outgrowth from A-B long-held investment in Craft Brewers Alliance, the Portland, Ore., owner of well-regarded Redhook Ale Brewery, Widmer Brothers Brewing and Kona Brewing Co.
A-B owns 32.25 percent of Craft Brewers Alliance, which until today held a minority stake in Goose Island.
Anheuser Busch, Goose Island’s distribution partner since 2006, is buying a 58 percent stake in the business, formally called Fulton Street Brewery LLC, from its founders and investors, for $22.5 million.
It also is buying the remaining 42 percent stake from Portland, Ore.-based Craft Brewers Alliance Inc. for $16.3 million. Anheuser-Busch has been a minority shareholder since 1994.
Some of Goose Island’s brands include Honkers Ale, 312 Urban Wheat Ale and Matilda. John Hall will continue in his position as chief executive of Goose Island.
The deal does not include the acquisition of two Goose Island brew pubs, which will remain open.
“We are very committed to expanding in the high-end beer segment, and this deal expands our portfolio of brands with high-quality, regional beers,” A-B President Dave Peacock said in a statement. “As we share ideas and bring our different strengths and experiences together, we can accelerate the growth of these brands.”