AB Inbev acquires Birra del Borgo

Birra del Borgo has announced a deal that makes it a wholly-owned subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev. The Italian brewery characterized this as a partnership in the press release announcing the sale. AB InBev will provide the support to allow Birra del Borgo to expand its brewery know how and infrastructure, continue to innovate and bring new great beers on the market through its distribution system. Founder Leonardo Di Vincenzo will continue to lead Birra Del Borgo as CEO of the company.

Di Vincenzo started his brewery in 2005 in Borgorose, a small town in the province of Rieti on the border between Lazio and Abruzzo in Italy. Di Vincrnzo’s initial inspiration comes from English and Belgian beers, but he then reworked them to become a part of the Italian gastronomy culture. He is one of “Birreria Brother Brewers” — along with Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione and Teo Musso of Birra Baladin Italy — behind the brewpub within each Eataly location.

For the press release, Di Vincenzo said: “Our voyage since we started in 2005 has been a great adventure. Today the beer sector has become very competitive and it necessary for us to make a next step to ensure that we can continue to evolve in terms of brewing techniques and in terms of the complexity and taste variation we can offer to consumers. We believe partnering with AB InBev is a great opportunity to do exactly that: it will allow Birra del Borgo to grow in a sustainable way while staying true to our unique identity and the philosophy that we have followed since the very beginning.”

Simon Wuestenberg, country director for AB InBev Italia, said: “We have been very impressed by what Leonardo and his team have built since 2005. They have been at the forefront of redefining beer in Italy, bringing a unique mix of inspired innovation, quality and consistency. Leonardo’s vision for beer and his passion for brewing will be great inspirations to our whole team, and we’re very excited about partnering up and growing together.”

The press release did not mention A-B’s High End division — which includes Goose Island Beer Co., Blue Point Brewing, 10 Barrel Brewing, Elysian Brewing, Golden Road Brewing, Virtue Cider, Four Peaks Brewing and Breckenridge Brewery — so at first glance it appears Birra del Borgo will operate separately.


A-B acquires Devils Backbone Brewing

Anheuser-Busch announed it has struck a deal to acquire Virginia’s Devils Backbone Brewing Co. The sale is set to close in the second quarter, A-B said. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Devils Backbone’s flagship beer is Vienna Lager, which accounted for about 60% of its sales last year. Devils Backbone joins what A-B calls The High End division. The High End includes including Goose Island Beer Co., Blue Point Brewing, 10 Barrel Brewing, Elysian Brewing, Golden Road Brewing, Virtue Cider, Four Peaks Brewing and Breckenridge Brewery.

“While we are joining a creative group of craft breweries in the division, Devils Backbone will retain a high level of autonomy and continue its own authentic DNA within The High End framework,” Devils Backbone founder and CEO Steve Crandall said in a statement. He also said the existing management team plans to remain with the brewer.

Devils Backbone operates the Outpost Brewery & Taproom in Lexington, where its primary production brewery is located. The brewer also operates its Basecamp Brewpub & Meadows in Roseland. Those two breweries have won 19 medals at the Great American Beer Festival since 2012.


BA releases annual ‘Top 50’ list

The Brewers Association has released its annual lists of the top 50 craft and overall brewing companies in the U.S., based on beer sales volume. Of the top 50 overall brewing companies, 43 were craft brewing companies (according to the BA definition).


“The top U.S. brewers continue to drive demand, growth, innovation and exponential interest in beers from small and independent brewers,” said Ba chief economist Bart Watson. “With a historic record number of breweries in U.S., the top brewers continue to open new markets and expose beer drinkers to a variety of fuller-flavored styles and offerings.”

For more information, including the overall list, visit the Brewers Association website.