In recent weeks, I’ve talked at length about AB InBev’s rocky relationship with craft beer as it adjusts to stem the bleeding caused by a growing thirst for craft beer. But recent news of significant staff cuts comes with a revised strategy when it comes to craft breweries.
AB InBev’s High End president, Felipe Szpigel explained:
He pointed to the new Vesa Sur brewpub in Miami, which is a first-of-its-kind partnership between AB InBev-owned 10 Barrel Brewing in Bend, OR, and Colombia’s Bogota Beer Company, as an example.
“Our plate’s full,” he said. “We have 10 amazing craft partners. Our focus is going to be organic.”
The official position of InBev is that they will no longer look to acquire other breweries, instead focusing on cultivating new brands of their own. The news comes shortly after the opening of AB InBev’s latin-themed brew pub Veza Sur Brewing Co.
ABI consistently cops heat for its heavy-handed and profit driven tactics that are often seen by the craft beer community as an effort to stifle their growing microbrew competitors (and rightly so).
One has to wonder if this pivot in business strategy is an attempt to right the wrongs of the past and create a more customer-focused culture in the face of widespread anger. If so, it seems it may be too little too late.
As previously mentioned, many craft breweries go to great lengths to distance themselves with AB InBev. In some instances, this includes cutting off ties with former allies who are later acquired by the brewing conglomerate. It’s reasonable to believe that the cuts are too deep to mend at this point, when it comes to AB InBev’s previous behavior. Only time will tell what this means for the beer industry as a whole.
So There You Have It
What are your thoughts? Will you give AB InBev another chance? Comment below and let me know.
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