AB InBev pours $321M into Craft Brew Buyout

Beer behemoth Anheuser-Busch InBev has agreed to pay $16.50 per share for the remaining 68.8% it does not already hold in Craft Brew Alliance, a Portland, OR-based craft beer group that owns local brands spanning the US, including Kona Brewing, Omission Brewing, Appalachian Mountain Brewery and Redhook Brewery.

The deal, which values Craft Brew at about $321 million, marks a reversal from August, when AB InBev declined an option to purchase the rest of Craft Brew for $24.50 per share. Founded in 2008 via the merger of Seattle’s Redhook and Portland’s Widmer Brothers Brewing, Craft Brew is the seventh-largest craft brewing company in the US, per its website.

The acquisition underlines Belgium-based AB InBev’s long-time strategy of craft brewery buyouts, a tendency toward consolidation that’s championed by 3G Capital, the Brazilian private equity firm that helped coordinate Anheuser-Busch’s takeover of InBev in 2008. More recently, the combined AB InBev has grappled with changing consumer preference. That includes a push into malt beverage markets, including alcoholic seltzers, amid waning demand for heavy lagers.

Shares of Craft Brew (Nasdaq: BREW) bubbled over on Tuesday, finishing the day trading at $16.23 apiece, up 121% from the previous close.