The founders of a popular North Carolina brewery announced they have bought back their brand from Anheuser-Busch InBev.
As Anheuser-Busch remains embroiled in controversy for partnering with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney, Appalachian Mountain Brewery founders Nathan Kelischek and Chris Zieber decided now is the right time to purchase their brand back from Anheuser-Busch.
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In 2014, AMB partnered with the Craft Brew Alliance to "help increase production and expand distribution" of AMB beers, the Boone-based brewery explained in a statement. AMB then entered Anheuser-Busch's portfolio when the alcohol conglomerate purchased the Craft Brew Alliance. Several years before that acquisition, the CBA had "fully acquired" AMB.
In a statement, Kelischek and Zieber did not cite the ongoing boycott of Bud Light as the genesis of their decision but mentioned the corporate red tape that comes with being part of a large company like Anheuser-Busch.
We wanted to take ownership of the full customer experience. With a large company, you have a lot of stakeholders to consider. With 10 years of experience behind us as founders and brewers, we wanted the autonomy to do what’s right for our brand and quickly react and make decisions without the input of a larger company.
As the Charlotte Business Journal observed, "It's not unusual for small, independent breweries to be swallowed up by giants like Anheuser-Busch." But, on the other hand, it's very usual for such transactions to go the other direction.
One must ask, then, why AMB's founders believe now, of all times, is the right time to purchase back AMB.
After all, and to their own admission, being part of Anheuser-Busch's portfolio helped AMB broaden its distribution reach, such as securing a deal with Bojangles to release the wildly popular Bojangles Hard Sweet Tea.
Just consider it yet another hit for Anheuser-Busch, which has experienced a rough two months.
Bud Light sales are down more than 25% — a decline that has spilled over to other Anheuser-Busch brands — while the company's top American competitors are benefitting. Anheuser-Busch InBev's stock has also taken a nose-dive.
But as the Wall Street Journal pointed out, the Bud Light controversy is unlikely to extinguish Anheuser-Busch InBev's popularity long into the future, especially because its portfolio of beers is extensive and it is a global conglomerate. Plus, if you're an investor looking for a deal, this might be the perfect time to pick up some Anheuser-Busch stock.
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