The year 2015 had quite a few ups and downs for craft beer. Here are a few of the biggest stories of the year:
The year of the acquisition in Craft Beer in the U.S.
2015 brought big changes to craft brew market
For the duration of its existence, the craft brewing industry has mostly avoided what many industries face constantly: acquisitions.
This year, all that changed with six American breweries selling out to larger brewing conglomerates. Back in 2011, Anheuser-Busch’s purchase of Goose Island for $38 million sent waves through the craft brewing community. The independent spirit is one of craft beer’s points of pride, and when someone as revered and respected as Goose Island sold, it felt like the first domino to fall.
It took awhile for more to follow , but the biggest one by far was San Diego’s Ballast Point Brewing selling last month for a reported $1 billion to alcoholic beverage conglomerate Constellation Brands.
Breckenridge Brewery in Colorado, Lagunitas in California and Four Peaks in Arizona are other names that Texan drinkers probably recognize that sold this year. Shockingly, Colorado’s New Belgium — which is employee-owned — was mentioned as entertaining an offer. Nothing materialized on that sale, but from some of the recent news, it appears no brewery is exempt from a potential sale.
Money talks, and it’s difficult to fault a mid-size business staring at a billion-dollar check. Guaranteed, as megabrewers continue to focus on growing their craft segments, this is only the beginning.