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AB-InBev Looks to the North for Its Latest Acquisition

Oh, Canada.
by Alexander Frane on Oct 13, 2015 in Beer

Labatt Breweries, the Canadian subsidiary of the global beverage company Anheuser Busch-InBev, has purchased the Mill Street Brewery, a craft brewery located in Toronto.

AB-InBev is the largest brewer in the world with a 25% share of the global market. The purchase of the smaller Mill Street Brewery is just the latest in a series of recent acquisitions. The company purchased Elysian Brewery in Seattle, WA, at the beginning of 2015 in a move that saw considerable criticism and led to the resignation of founder Dick Cantwell only three months later. Cantwell had been with the company for twenty years before resigning. A few months earlier, in November 2014, the sale of Bend, Oregon’s 10 Barrel to AB-InBev received similar sentiments.

Now, InBev, through its subsidiary Labatt, has turned its sights on Canada, purchasing Mill Street Brewery. Mill Street was founded in 2002 and brews the largest amount of organic beers in Canada, including their flagship beer, the Original Organic Lager, among 70 other styles of beers. Labatt plans on investing $10 million in Mill Street in order to increase production and distribution. “Our partnership and investment will accelerate its growth in one of the most dynamic beer segments, while fully preserving Mill Street’s creative character and pioneering spirit,” Labatt president Jan Craps said in a statement.

Craps’ statement echoes the proposed intentions of AB-InBev’s acquisitions--the goal, they say, is to maintain the quality of the smaller breweries while helping them with production and distribution. Critics, however, warn that the consolidation of once independent breweries under the ownership of a single entity will stifle the very creativity that defines the craft brew scene. Still, for every brewery that is bought up by a larger organization, many more spring up. 

Photo via Mill Street Brewery


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