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Anheuser-Busch Sets Sights on Tampa Craft Brewery

by Kate Monzo on Feb 11, 2015 in Beer
Anheuser-Busch Sets Sights on Tampa Craft Brewery

Remember that Budweiser Super Bowl commercial making fun of craft beer? Well, it looks like Anheuser-Busch is jumping on the craft bandwagon anyway and buying craft breweries left and right. Among them are Seattle’s Elysian Brewing, Chicago’s Goose Island, and Long Island’s Blue Point Brewing. Tampa’s Cigar City could be it’s next acquisition.
 
Joey Redner, Cigar City’s owner and founder, confirmed that Anheuser-Busch has reached out to him about buying the brewery. Redner told The Tampa Tribune that the company approached him about having a “more in-depth meeting,” which is yet to happen.

Anheuser-Busch’s established brands, such as Budweiser and Busch, have been fighting for market share in Florida and other places, so acquiring Cigar City would be a huge success for the company.

Which craft beer is on the rise, domestic products are still dominating craft beer around the country. In 2013, craft beer which had 8% of the market share while domestic beer, such as Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors, had control of 78% of the market share, according to the Boulder, Colorado-based Brewers Association. However, in the same year, craft beer sales increased 17%.

Florida seems like the ideal place for Anheuser-Busch to head next, specifically in the Tampa Bay area. The company previously operated a brewery there, shutdown in 1995, and the Busch Gardens theme park, which it sold in 2009. Craft beer also has a huge impact on Florida’s economy. Last year, craft brewers in Florida produced around 130,000 barrels of beer, which contributed $875 million to Florida’s economy.

For anyone that has been to Tampa and the surrounding towns, almost every bar has Cigar City’s award-winning “Jai Alai” on tap. The brew is not just popular in the Tampa Bay area either, having gained a national following recently.
 
Josh Abuchon, executive director of the Florida Brewers Guild, said that Anheuser-Busch “sees the market growth that’s happened in craft brewing, and they are interesting in adding that to their portfolio.”
 
According to brewers and business analysts, other targets for Anheuser-Busch could be Florida Beer Co. in Cape Canaveral, Due South Brewing in Boyton Beach, and Intuition Ale Works in Jacksonville.

Intuition’s owner and founder, Ben Davis, feels very strongly about protecting his brand. “I’d be very flattered, but I have no interest in selling,” he said.

Who could be next?

 


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