This caught me by surprise. Anheuser-Busch InBev announced today that it is buying 10 Barrel Brewing, the award-winning brewpub located in Bend, Oregon. 10 Barrel is the brewery that Tonya Cornett, formerly of Bend Brewing, moved to a couple of years ago.
From the press release:
“For the past eight years, we’ve been brewing beer, drinking beer and having fun doing it.” said co-founder Jeremy Cox, who will continue to lead 10 Barrel along with his partners, co-founder and brother Chris Cox, and Garrett Wales. “We are excited to stay focused on brewing cool beers, get our beers in more hands, and make the most of the operational and distribution expertise of Anheuser-Busch,” said Cox.
10 Barrel expects to sell approximately 40,000 barrels of beer in 2014. Apocalypse IPA, the brewer’s most popular beer, accounts for nearly half of the company’s total volume.
“10 Barrel, its brewers, and their high-quality beers are an exciting addition to our high-end portfolio,” said Andy Goeler, CEO, Craft, Anheuser-Busch. “The brewery is a major contender in the Northwest, an area with a large number of craft breweries. We see tremendous value in the brewery’s unique offerings and differentiated style, which 10 Barrel fans know and love.”
In addition to the Bend brewery, the acquisition will include the company’s existing brewpubs in Bend and Boise, Idaho; and a Portland brewpub scheduled to open in early 2015.
The deal should close by the end of the year, though the terms or price have not been disclosed.
The founders of 10 Barrel also posted a short video explaining their decision and, perhaps more importantly, asking people to give them the benefit of the doubt before rushing to judgment and “let the beer do the talking.”
VERY SAD. You had a great brewery with great beer. Now, the corporate ben counters will do their magic. VERY SAD. The giant amoeba takes over much of what is good.
I trust this won’t engender a raft of ‘there goes the neighborhood’ rants; however, I do hope the lads can maintain their high standards which–over the past few years–has made 10 Barrel my favorite Bend brewery.
I would presume that before they signed on w/ABI, they took a close look at the Goose Island-ABI relationship & talked to the Goose Islanders about the results, which for sure have given GI semi-national presence. I’ve seen GI Honkers at ballparks & in airport bars in CA the past couple years, as I’m sure they have, too.
However, HbgBill makes a good point about corporate beancounters, who can’t tolerate breaking even/losing even “chump change”. On the other hand, maybe ABI is becoming the 1st of the megas to wise up to the honest-to-god craft breweries’ increasing popularity. Will be interesting to see how this plays out down the road.
SAD, SAD day! Glad we visited before it went corporate. We’ve always told our Michigan friends “Bend is the place for true craft beer and 10-Barrel had some of the best”. We’ll be taking out that last part and telling them Bend is still worth the cross country trip, but 10-Barrel is no longer craft but part of the corporate culture that controls what is made based on the bottom line. Plenty of other true craft breweries in Oregon – and we’re seeing more and more on the shelves here in the Midwest!
I had the opportunity to participate in an impromptu BCS Taste Panel at Goose Island last Saturday with Brewmaster Brett and the guys from AZ Wilderness and 18th Street from Indiana. The beers (cellared vintages and soon to be released) were stunning. I was honored to be included. From where I sit, they are still making great beer, despite the predictions made by the craft industry pundits when they “sold out”.
There was a day when I frowned on the “Evil Empire” but hey… good beer is good beer. I am getting old and I suppose my opinions have softened. I love well crafted beer and I feel as if I have a decent palate. I have grown past the arrogance of criticizing craft breweries for “selling out”. I believe in a Capitalism (one of few that do these days) and I do not begrudge breweries and brewers the right to take their dreams to a higher place. Not everyone has wealthy parents or deep pocket private investors. I wish 10 Barrel Brewing the very best.