Welcome to the page that keeps you informed about impostor craft beer brands, those who try to benefit from the power of craft beer, even though they are aligned with forces who are trying to tear it down.
You will find listed here purveyors of products or content found on shelves, on tap or on the Internet who have been purchased or funded by Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), craft beer’s number one enemy.
Many are speculating about why AB InBev is buying up American craft breweries in large numbers, all over the country: it is to gain back market share, it is to change the perception of what a premium beverage is, it is to put a throttle on the beer industry’s supply chain. Whatever the reason or reasons may be, one thing is for sure: InBev’s buying spree is going virtually unrestricted.
The Brewers Association defines American craft brewers as “small, independent and traditional.” None of the breweries or brands on our list have that trio of qualifications, as they are each either fully owned by AB InBev or have sold off a significant portion of the company to AB InBev.
Although each of these breweries (now under AB InBev’s The High End division) saw a significant payday for cashing in with the beer giant, not one of them wants you to think that it has even minimal operating ties to InBev going forward. These subsidiaries would much rather the American public think that they are doing business as usual, as craft beer brands. And for that reason they have been CUT OFF.
If you have updates or additions for the list below, please submit here.
|Goose Island||2011||Honkers Ale, Goose IPA, 312, Sofie, Matilda, Bourbon County Series|
|Kona||2013 (32.2% stake in CBA)||Big Wave Ale, Castaway IPA, Longboard Lager|
|Omission||2013 (32.2% stake in CBA)||Omission Gluten Free Lager|
|Redhook||2013 (32.2% stake in CBA)||Redhook ESB, Long Hammer IPA|
|Widmer Brothers||2013 (32.2% stake in CBA)||Alchemy Pale Ale, Drop Top Amber, Hefeweizen, Upheaval IPA|
|Blue Point||2014||Toasted Lager. Blueberry Ale, Hoptical Illusion IPA, Mosaic Session IPA|
|10 Barrel||2014||Apocalypse IPA, Joe IPA, Cucumber Crush, Raspberry Crush, Pub Beer|
|Elysian||2015||Space Dust IPA, Wise ESB, The Immortal IPA, Loser Pale Ale, Men's Room|
|Golden Road||2015||Point the Way IPA, Wolf Pup Session IPA, 329 Lager|
|Four Peaks||2015||Kilt Lifter Scottish Ale, Hop Knot IPA, Pitchfork Pale Ale|
|Breckenridge||2016||Vanilla Porter, Avalanche Ale, Breck IPA, Agave Wheat|
|Karbach||2016||Hopadillo IPA, Love Street, Weekend Warrior, Lemon and Ginger Radler, Rodeo Clown Double IPA|
|Devil's Backbone||2016||Vienna Lager, Eight Point IPA, Gold Leaf Lager, Kilt Flasher|
|Wicked Weed||2017||Pernicious IPA, Freak of Nature DIPA, Napoleon Complex Pale Ale, Angel of Darkness, Oblivion, Genisis|
InBev’s aggression isn’t unique to the U.S., and after first publishing The Cut Off, we received many requests to have the breweries and brands in Canada who are owned by InBev added to our list. As is quite apparent, independence is a value that American beer lovers share with their Canuck counterparts.
In 1995, Labatt Brewing Company was purchase by Belgian brewer Interbrew, which later became AB InBev. Aside from owning the popular light lager Labatt Blue, Labatt has in recent years purchased several once-independent Canadian breweries. Similar to the activities which have been demonstrated in American markets, those brands have attempted to capitalize on an ability to sneak around in LCBO permitted retailers and The Beer Store (partly owned by Labatt) as craft beer, and for that reason they have also been CUT OFF.
|Turning Point Brewery||2015||Hells Gate Pale Ale, Hells Gate Lager, Rockstar Lager, Stanley Park Brands||B.C.|
|Stanley Park Brewing (Turning Point)||2015||Day Trip, Noble Pilsner, Windstorm, 1897 Amber, SunSetter||B.C.|
|Mill Street Brewery||2015||Original Organic Lager, 100th Meridian Lager, Tankhouse Ale, Welter Weight Session IPA||Ontario (Toronto)|
|Microbrasserie Archibald||2016||Chipie Pale Ale, Matante Blonde Ale, Joufflue Wit, Coquine Lager, Valkyrie Bock||Québec|
AB InBev’s newest set of tools is a series of propaganda websites masquerading as craft beer blogs. Their pages don critical indictments of craft breweries branding authenticity and of drinkers showing strict loyalty to craft brewing. They also publish excuses for InBev’s aggressive, monopolistic and sometimes illegal actions against small and independent breweries.
It is clear with this recent initiative that InBev’s intent is to direct the conversations being had about beer on the Internet, and its newfound digital network could put it in a position to drown out voices of dissent if it goes unchecked.
Two of the websites listed here are funded by AB InBev, and the other two are connected through their leadership. And for that reason they have been CUT OFF.
Connection to AB InBev
|The Beer Necessities||As a collaboration with Wasted Talent, TBN is entirely underwritten by AB InBev’s division, The High End.||Founder: Jonathan Hack; Editor-in-Chief: Ethan Fixell|
|October||The website oct.co is a venture funded by Condé Nast & Ab-InBev's VC arm, ZX Ventures.||Founder & President: Mike Raspatello; Executive Producer: Good Beer Hunting; Executive Editor: Michael Kiser; Pitchfork Mag; Managing Editor: Eno Sarris|
|Good Beer Hunting||Good Beer Hunting is listed as Executive Producer for October and Michael Kiser (founder) is Executive Editor for October.||Founder: Michael Kiser; Editorial Director: Austin Louis Ray|
|BeerGraphs||Eno Sarris (founder) is Editor for October, where his BeerGraphs ratings system is a review staple.||Founder: Eno Sarris|
|RateBeer||Sold minority stake to ZX Ventures||Owner: Joe Tucker|
Since publishing this list, we’ve been listening to you. Unfortunately, established and trusted brands within the craft beer and homebrewing communities continue to be acquired by Globo Beer. They don’t always fit the traditional mold, however. This list consists of companies who have sold significant shares to AB InBev but who do not qualify for other categories on The Cut Off.
|Northern Brewer||Homebrew, winemaking and brewing equipment supplier — acquired by AB InBev's ZX Ventures in 2016. Also doing business as Midwest Supplies.|
|PicoBrew||Maker of counter-top homebrewing machines made possible by investments from ZX Ventures.|
|The Atom Group||Purchased by ZX Ventures in 2018, this UK-based whiskey retail company is parent to Boutique-y Whisky, Maverick Drinks and Master of Malt.|