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Anheuser-Busch Acquires Three More Craft Brewers

ST. LOUIS — Anheuser-Busch (A-B) continues to build its craft beer portfolio, acquiring three craft brewers this month alone.

On Dec. 18, Anheuser-Busch announced an agreement to acquire Four Peaks Brewing Co., the leading craft brewer in Arizona. Four Peaks represents the sixth operation to join the growing list of innovative and progressive craft breweries within A-B's The High End, the company's business unit providing unique craft and import brands, according to the brewer.

The High End portfolio already includes Goose Island Beer Co., Blue Point Brewing Co., 10 Barrel Brewing, Elysian Brewing Co. and Golden Road Brewing.

"For 20 years, we've had more amazing experiences than I can count doing what we love to do most — brewing great beer and sharing it with a growing craft community in Arizona that has supported us from day one," said Four Peaks co-founder Andy Ingram. "We're excited to join the enthusiastic team and tap into their resources to expand our footprint and share our beer with even more people moving forward."

Tempe, Ariz.-based Four Peaks, which opened in 1996, expects to sell approximately 70,000 barrels of beer in 2015. Its flagship beer, Kilt Lifter, is a Scottish-style ale that accounts for more than 60 percent of the brewery's sales. 

The partnership with A-B includes the company's three primary locations in Arizona: the 8th Street Brewery & Pub in Tempe; the Wilson Street Brewery & Tasting Room in Tempe; and the Grill & Tap in Scottsdale, in addition to continuing the craft brewer's partnership at the Sky Harbor Airport facility. 

Anheuser-Busch's acquisition of Four Peaks is expected to close during the first quarter of 2016. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Breckenridge Brewery 

Anheuser-Busch is also acquiring Colorado-based Breckenridge Brewery. Breckenridge will be the seventh craft brewery to join The High End division.

"We're excited about the partnership and have been encouraged to continue on our path and become more innovative moving forward," said Todd Usry, president of Breckenridge Brewery. "I'm a believer in what The High End is focused on accomplishing and we are flattered that our team was chosen to help guide that journey. We're looking forward to utilizing resources like decades of research and brewing expertise as we continue to create new beers."

Available in 35 states, Breckenridge Brewery will sell approximately 70,000 barrels of beer in 2015. Its new brewery and Farm House restaurant in Littleton have positioned the brewery for future growth, according to Anheuser-Busch.

"Breckenridge Brewery has a long history of innovation and they continue to brew new and exciting beers, from their specialty brews like the Mountain Series that celebrates the brewery's origin as a ski town brewpub, to their planned nitro can series," said Andy Goeler, CEO, craft, The High End. "They are innovative and have built an amazing business that's enabled them to get their great beers to fans across the country. We look forward to even more growth together."

The deal includes the company's new production brewery and Farm House restaurant in Littleton, and its original brewpub and current innovation center in the mountain town of Breckenridge.

The current management group Breckenridge-Wynkoop will continue to own and operate its remaining businesses including: Ale House at Amato's in Denver, Breckenridge Ale House in Grand Junction, Breckenridge Colorado Craft in Denver, The Cherry Cricket in Denver, Mainline in Fort Collins, Phantom Canyon Brewing Co. in Colorado Springs, and Wynkoop Brewing Co. in Denver.

Anheuser-Busch's acquisition of Breckenridge Brewery is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016, subject to customary closing conditions. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Camden Town Brewery 

Moving across the pond, parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev revealed it is acquiring the United Kingdom's Camden Town Brewery. The move paves the way for further growth and expansion.

Founded by Jasper Cuppaidge, Camden Town Brewery started full production in 2010. From an original staff of three people, it now employs a team of 95 and has sold 12 million pints in 2015. The beers are available in more than 1,000 pubs, bars, restaurants and retailers around the United Kingdom, as well as in Sweden, Australia and Japan.

This deal follows a successful bid by Camden Town Brewery to raise capital via crowd funding and will support the company's plan to build a second brewery in London.

"Our growth has been phenomenal. To keep up with the demand for our distinctive beers, we've had to look at expanding our brewing capacity and team. AB InBev is going to be our strategic partner, helping us maintain the character and quality of our beers, while giving us access to the investment we need to drive Camden to being ever more successful at home and abroad," Cuppaidge said.

"Opportunities like this come rarely. We believe we must have the ambition to grab this opportunity and turn Camden Town Brewery, and the quality it stands for, from being an outstanding London brewer to being a world-famous one," he added.

Camden Town Brewery will become a wholly owned subsidiary of AB InBev when the deal closes in early January. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

"We have a passion for great beer. Camden Town is a creative business with a great range of brands that will complement our existing portfolio. We will support their ambitious plans for the future, using our expertise and global distribution network to help them get their great beer to more people," said Iain Newell, European director of Specialities & Craft for AB InBev. 

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