Anheuser-Busch InBev to Acquire Blue Point Brewing

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by tommyz, Feb 5, 2014.

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  1. tommyz

    tommyz Initiate (0) May 28, 2007 Michigan

    ST. LOUIS and LONG ISLAND, N.Y., Feb. 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ – Anheuser-Busch today announced it has agreed to purchase Blue Point Brewing Co., one of the nation’s top craft brewers with more than 40 beers and sales concentrated along the East Coast, in a move that will bring additional resources to Blue Point’s operations, allowing it to meet growing consumer demand for its award‑winning brands. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

    Blue Point, known for its creativity, was founded by Mark Burford and Peter Cotter 15 years ago in Patchogue, N.Y., where the brewery will continue to operate. Anheuser-Busch also plans to invest in the brewery to grow its operational capabilities and enhance the consumer experience over the next few years.

    “We are deeply grateful to our family of loyal employees and customers. Our success was made possible by the hard work of good people and good beer in Patchogue,” said Peter Cotter, who will continue to be instrumental in the success of the brands along with co-founder Mark Burford. “Together, our talented brewing team and Anheuser-Busch will have the resources to create new and exciting beers and share our portfolio with even more beer lovers,” said Mark Burford.

    In 2013, Blue Point sold approximately 60,000 barrels, with 50 percent of the volume from its flagship brand, Toasted Lager. It also sells Hoptical Illusion, Blueberry Ale and seasonal brands among others.

    “As we welcome Blue Point into the Anheuser-Busch family of brands, we look forward to working with Mark and Peter to accelerate the growth of the Blue Point portfolio and expand to new markets, while preserving the heritage and innovation of the brands,” said Luiz Edmond, CEO of Anheuser-Busch. “With Anheuser-Busch’s strong beer credentials, we share a commitment to offering high-quality beers that excite consumers. Blue Point brands have a strong following and even more potential.”

    Anheuser-Busch’s purchase of Blue Point is expected to close in early second quarter of 2014.

    Ippolito Christon & Co. acted as financial advisers to Blue Point. Ettelman & Hochheiser, P.C. acted as legal counsel to Blue Point.

    About Blue Point Brewing Company
    Blue Point Brewing Company is Long Island’s oldest and most award-winning brewery. Founded in 1998 by Mark Burford andPete Cotter, Blue Point Brewery is headquartered in Patchogue, New York, and is currently the 34th largest craft brewery in the U.S. Blue Point Brewing Company is independently owned and operated and its beers are available in 15 states of distribution including New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont,Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Michigan. Blue Point’s portfolio of more than 40 craft beers includes Hoptical Illusion, ESB, RastafaRye Ale, Sour Cherry Imperial Stout, Toxic Sludge, White IPA, No Apologies Double IPA, and its flagship Toasted Lager, which won the World Beer Cup in 2006.

    About Anheuser-Busch
    For more than 160 years, Anheuser-Busch and its world-class brewmasters have carried on a legacy of brewing America’s most-popular beers. Starting with the finest, all-natural ingredients sourced from Anheuser-Busch’s family of growers, every batch is hand-crafted using the same exacting standards and time-honored traditions passed down through generations of proud Anheuser-Busch brewmasters and employees. Best known for its fine American-style lagers, Budweiser and Bud Light, the company’s beers lead numerous beer segments and combined hold 47.6 percent share of the U.S. beer market. Anheuser-Busch is the U.S. arm of Anheuser-Busch InBev and operates 12 breweries, 17 distributorships and 23 agricultural and packaging facilities across the United States, representing a capital investment of more than $15.5 billion. Its flagship brewery remains in St. Louis, Mo., and is among the global company’s largest and most technologically capable breweries. Visitor and special beermaster tours are available at its St. Louis and four other Anheuser-Busch breweries. For more information, visit http://www.anheuser-busch.com.

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  2. StoutSnob40

    StoutSnob40 Poo-Bah (3,008) Jan 4, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    I bet we'll be seeing this sort of thing a lot..
     
  3. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,824) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Yep, it appears that the AB InBev strategy to obtain part of the US craft brewing dollars is via acquisition. If they permit the breweries to operate somewhat autonomously these acquisitions may not be a bad thing. So far it seems that Goose Island is doing OK.

    Cheers!
     
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  4. SnifterLifter

    SnifterLifter Initiate (0) Nov 9, 2013 New York

    I mean I didn't expect this to happen but I'm not surprised either. Blue Point seems to be very popular these days. I mean I don't think I've ever walked into a bar on L.I. to not find at least Toasted Lager on tap (Even dives with BMC stuff). I could see Blue Point being very accessible to those who are new to craft beer as well.
     
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  5. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado

  6. jbertsch

    jbertsch Poo-Bah (1,621) Dec 14, 2008 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    Yeah, not positive what they mean by "top", but I don't immediately equate Blue Point with "quality." So my immediate perception is that this seems a likely match for AbInbev.
     
  7. Kanger

    Kanger Initiate (0) Sep 3, 2013 New York

    Damn it. Sorry Blue Point.
     
  8. Jeffries55

    Jeffries55 Initiate (0) Sep 5, 2013 New York

    Well, by top they most likely mean by volume... not quality nor being known for a particular beer or style. From the 2012 brewer's association's statistics, by volume they were the 36th largest craft brewery in the US.
     
  9. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,544) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    :astonished: Based on the fact that the phrase was a link to the B.A.'s Top 50 Craft Brewers of 2012, it refers to the fact that, by total yearly barrelage, Blue Point was #36 on that list, putting it among the top 2% of all 2000+ craft breweries in the US.

    Or, you know, what he said...
    :wink:
     
  10. RblWthACoz

    RblWthACoz Initiate (0) Aug 19, 2006 Pennsylvania

    If you can't beat 'em, be 'em.
     
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  11. BH712

    BH712 Initiate (0) Jan 29, 2014 District of Columbia

    I guess it depends on your definition of "top" - volume of sales or popularity/quality of product. I've only had the toasted lager, which I really enjoy. It's like a more flavorful version of Yuengling.
     
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  12. cestlavie

    cestlavie Initiate (0) Oct 27, 2011 New York

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  13. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado


    Guys - that's why I wrote "in my opinion".
     
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  14. Kanger

    Kanger Initiate (0) Sep 3, 2013 New York

    On Blue Points website:

    "We want to remain a small, local, independently-owned and operated microbrewery with absolutely no corporate ties"

    Ug.
     
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  15. VDODSON

    VDODSON Initiate (0) Feb 5, 2013 North Dakota

    Why not? It would in no way impede on their current quality/ingredients, and they would be able to provide it to the masses instead of small demographics. More money for the brewery, and a chance for everyone to get a hold of their products.
     
  16. HRamz3

    HRamz3 Initiate (0) Feb 9, 2010 Pitcairn
    Deactivated

    Does this seem similar to the purchasing binges of the 1970-80's, when all the regional breweries got bought up? That didn't work out so well in the llong run, one could argue that it helped the craft movement get going as people lost their "hometown" brews.
     
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  17. Kanger

    Kanger Initiate (0) Sep 3, 2013 New York

    Why wouldn't a take over impede on the quality of ingredients?

    BMC brewers want the most profit margins they can achieve, so using lesser quality (aka cheaper) hops, malts, and water would be the first thing they consider.
     
  18. BeerTwigs

    BeerTwigs Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2009 New York

    Toasted lager accounts for 50% of their 60k barrels. It sells extremely well in NY, everyone I know loves it. As expansion for craft breweries grow its either find some money to expand, contract your beer out or be acquired. The question is would you rather have your beer owned by Bud or made somewhere else. We will see where it plays out this year. When they first had their IPA, Hoptical Illusion contracted out it was terrible, everyone knew it wasn't the same. I am still up in the air on which I prefer, but the nature of business is to grow and expand. Its the unfortunate circumstances of good craft beer.
     
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  19. jageraholic

    jageraholic Disciple (360) Sep 16, 2009 Massachusetts
    Trader

    there would be a hop shortage everywhere if Heady and Pliny were distributed across the U.S.
     
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  20. Crusader

    Crusader Disciple (369) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    It's interesting that they keep on buying more craft breweries, instead of developing new beers in house with the same kind of flavor and specifications as these breweries. It almost seems like it's a way for them to circumvent their own marketing and product development departments and instead take a leap of faith so to speak with these acquired brands (although that leap of faith is of course helped by the proven sales records of these acquired brands). Of course one might argue that they are buying the cachet of a craft brewery, which enables them to charge higher premiums than would be possible with an in-house brand. Still, for a company which wants to be seen as the premier brewer in the world you would think that they would have the confidence in their own brewing and marketing abilities to put something out there that is their own. This seems like somewhat of an admission of failure.
     
  21. a74gent

    a74gent Aspirant (290) Mar 16, 2010 Massachusetts
    Trader

    If I agreed with your analysis then I'd get on board, but I don't in any way believe that would happen.
     
  22. Absolut

    Absolut Zealot (556) Sep 19, 2011 California

    be fair, i want to do a lot of things as well. but waive a check fat on 0's at the end and I'm willing to revisit the issue..
     
  23. a74gent

    a74gent Aspirant (290) Mar 16, 2010 Massachusetts
    Trader

    But if we admit it to ourselves, part of what we like is small, independent non-corporate, etc. and AB can't market that no matter how good their people are. They have great brewers..don't kid yourself. All that said, I'm confounded with a Blue Point purchase. GI was clear...Duvel chasing Boulevard I can see...but Blue Point...?
     
  24. Ilovelampandbeer

    Ilovelampandbeer Initiate (0) Aug 25, 2013 New York

    I never saw blue point as even being all that great so i guess they should be impressed that AB considered them part of the threat....having said that, i like craft because when looking for a certain style i find that the craft option is 99 times out of 100 better than the BMC option(that 1 percent being GI bourbon county series which comes with an asterisk bc it was made before the buyout)...im not one of those people that refuses to buy BMC because theyre a big corporation, i refuse to buy them because they suck...so if i loved blue point and they were bought up, id still buy them just like i still buy GI...luckily im not attached to them so AB wont be getting my money this time
     
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  25. RonfromJersey

    RonfromJersey Initiate (0) Jan 25, 2002 New Jersey

    Good luck to the Blue Point guys. Hopefully they got enough for a fun filled retirement.

    And another brewery is on my ignore list.
     
  26. abkayak

    abkayak Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2013 New York

    well...at least i got a shot of Hop Illusion at the coliseum again
     
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  27. Providence

    Providence Champion (829) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island
    Trader

    I don't think that their goal is to be seen as the premier brewer in the world, I think their goal is to make as much money as possible. Acquiring craft breweries gives them a piece of the pie they don't already have (craft drinkers). Right now they have a lot of the pie that represents money spent on beer. Their goal is to have the whole pie. This move gives them another percentage of it.
     
  28. tvazteca

    tvazteca Initiate (137) Sep 27, 2011 Massachusetts

    This is like the single malt game. Every single Malt producer answers to a higher power (usually Diagio). If it starts to effect quality you'll know it. But I think just owning some brands that give them cache is a good enough reason to buy them, whether it's good or bad.
    Though personally, the only beer I really like from Blue Point is Toxic Sludge.
     
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  29. TonyJ815

    TonyJ815 Initiate (0) Apr 3, 2013 Florida

    Goodbye Toxic Sludge... RIP.
     
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  30. VDODSON

    VDODSON Initiate (0) Feb 5, 2013 North Dakota

    I can only compare it to Goose Island, has it impeded on it's quality? I'm not a fan of stouts myself so I cant say if the quality of their bourbon barrel beers has deteriorated. The reviews though always seem stellar.
     
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  31. hopley

    hopley Poo-Bah (1,905) Feb 24, 2010 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    While I really shouldn't care about ownership when it comes to drinking good beer, I do. And while I have been excited about my ability to readily buy and taste the latest release of Goose Island's Bourbon County beers in the Boston market, it depresses me. I can't fault the owners of Goose Island and Blue Point in wanting to "cash out" - that's one of the fundamental tenets of our capitalism. Living outside the system can be difficult, one sided and sometimes unfair - while I can easily drive 3 hours to Vermont to buy some Heady Topper and try some of The Alchemist's un-canned local keg-only releases (with maybe a little more difficulty!), I can't as easily drive to Santa Rosa, California to try some Pliny the Elder. I'm OK with that and will keep trying to trade for it, and will savor it when I finally get the chance.

    However, every time I have the opportunity to buy some BCBS or Honker's Ale, and now Blue Point brews, the first thing I think of is "Oh they're now owned by AB InBev". The next thing I think about is some MBA (which I am) frantically scratching his / her pencil on a legal pad trying to figure own how to maximize profit on their new acquisitions through "greater distribution and availability" or "limited distribution and exclusivity", and how much they should charge in both cases in order to maximize profit. The last thing I think of is the stockholders and senior citizens who are living off these maximized profits (you, your parents, grandparents?).

    In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with anyone of that - everyone's got to make a living and support a lifestyle somehow. But I personally would rather support the owners and employees of a local organization and keep the profits within the community rather than see a large corporation get involved. I also like being somewhat "outside the system" and kind of selfishly want to keep this incredibly great craft beer industry somewhat exclusive. So with that, I will not stop drinking Goose Island and Blue Point beers, but I will consciously try to choose beers brewed by independent breweries. While one person is not going to make or break a market - if enough folks do this, perhaps the large publicly-owned conglomerates will stick to the mass market and we can keep some level of exclusivity in the craft beer market.
     
  32. Providence

    Providence Champion (829) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island
    Trader

    There's already a growing group of people working towards this, why don't you join us?
     
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  33. Brad007

    Brad007 Poo-Bah (4,022) Mar 28, 2007 Vermont
    Society

    Had it. Hated it.

    Good riddance.
     
  34. BT_Bobandy

    BT_Bobandy Initiate (0) Feb 20, 2011 Ohio

    Never tried a Blue Point beer and that trend is likely to continue.

    Edit: Oh sh*t, Toxic Sludge was Blue Point? Well golly, that beer was terrible anyway.
     
  35. Celtics76

    Celtics76 Crusader (789) Sep 5, 2011 Rhode Island

    Non-factor for me. Blue Point bottles collect dust in my area, I've had maybe 2 of their beers and was left unimpressed.
     
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  36. slacker79

    slacker79 Initiate (172) Mar 27, 2011 Ohio

    For someone who lived just down the road from the brewery, this sucks. Good for them getting their payday and that Inbev thinks they're worth buying, but even if the brewing continues only on LI and upstate, the fact that they are now owned by one of the 3 big beer conglomerates is enough for me to stop buying good ol' toasted lager.
     
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  37. LODGE4

    LODGE4 Initiate (0) Dec 12, 2012 Florida

    Their toasted lager is very good and sells very well around here.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  38. nathanmiller

    nathanmiller Meyvn (1,189) Oct 7, 2009 New York

    Blue Point was an early entry-beer for most of my college friends. I always made sure to have a sixer of something they made in order to make them feel comfortable.

    Sad that they're now going to be AB, but to be honest, since leaving NY, I haven't missed them at all.
     
  39. Jplachy

    Jplachy Devotee (465) Feb 12, 2012 Illinois
    Trader

    Good to see everyone thinks money is the only factor that goes into a decision like this.
     
  40. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (3,001) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    I still run into people who love this beer, and apparently AB Inbev thinks it can go far. It may not appeal to most people on this site, but for the casual drinker they may have some good competition for SABL on their hands, whether it's in a chain restaurant or the 7-11 or whatever.

    I've known Mark (casually) since his days running a homebrew shop on LI in the early 90s, and he was always a classy and friendly guy who helped the community get established. I can't help but feel very happy for him and Pete. Hopefully, with expanded capacity and the resources to hire more brewers they can even devote their attention to more interesting releases in the future. I'll keep my fingers crossed on that one.
     
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