Unlike the surprisingly violent TV ad in which The Mountain, a character from HBO’s Game of Thrones, literally defaces the Bud Knight and a dragon lays fiery siege to the rest of the Dilly Dilly gang, no beer industry spectator should be shocked at AB InBev‘s other bold move revealed during Super Bowl LIII.
In a forum post on ratebeer.com Sunday, site founder Joe Tucker announced that ZX Ventures, a division of Bud Light’s parent company, has increased their investment in his beer ratings platform to 100 percent. The news affirms that the No. 1 aggressor against the global craft beer movement now owns the No. 3 Internet property used by beer lovers to praise and critique the brews of adult beverage producers the world over. Brew Studs reported what was known in June of 2017 when AB InBev first acquired an undisclosed stake in Tucker’s company.
“After ZX Ventures took a minority investment in RateBeer, we were able to make improvements to infrastructure,” stated Tucker. “Now, with access to greater resources, we’ll be able to continue modernizing the site, and expand into new areas,” he added.
Apparently the beer juggernaut’s minority control wasn’t enough to move RateBeer into top contention, as both Untappd and Beer Advocate held onto their spots in the brew ratings hierarchy and even lengthened RateBeer’s track to catch them. Regardless of whether it makes profitable sense, InBev’s newest decision to go all in on another challenger is consistent with the nation-sized conglomerate’s past behavior — hardly a craft beer drinker needs to be reminded of the more than 20 “craft” brands at least partly owned by Biggest Beer.
What this acquisition will mean for the craft beer industry at large remains to be seen. Tucker, like others who have cozied up to ZX Ventures, has maintained that InBev money will not influence the content on the site he created, and he has thrown around terms like “quality-focused” and “integrity” when preemptively mitigating inevitable blow-back. One statistic that industry stakeholders may want to note when considering the impact of AB InBev’s new subsidiary is ratebeer.com’s tanking Alexa rank. Because even at No. 3 in its field, it is still one of the 13,000 most popular websites in America.