Anheuser-Busch InBev Acquires Northern Brewer & Midwest Supplies

AB inbev purchases northern brewer and midwest supplies

The rumors started days ago have ended in the last 48 hours with confirmation direct from Northern Brewer and Midwest Supplies today that indeed, they were acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev, the multi-national super conglomerate that owns Budweiser and Miller. More precise the deal was announced as being completed by ‘ZX Ventures’, the disruptive growth unit of AB InBev. Anheuser-Busch InBev now has market share of 70% of beer sales in the United States after getting Justice Department approval of a merger.

Northern Brewer opted for Chris Farley, the listed ‘Founder’ and not the Northern Brewer President to confirm the announcement today.

Many of you have seen the news that we’ve closed a deal to be acquired by ZX Ventures, the global Disruptive Growth Unit of Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Why would AB InBev Bother with a Homebrew Supply Shop Like Northern Brewer?

Northern Brewer & Midwest Supplies were likely a sought after purchase due to a reported annual revenue of at least $50,000,000. Some worry this acquisition along with their deep capital could allow them to pivot into the wholesale market in an attempt to gain massive control of the homebrew industry in a vertical growth move.

Many on Homebrew Talk and reddit have speculated on exactly what disruptive growth means to the small and tight-knit homebrew community. Only time will tell what impact they will have on the hobby and smaller retailers that help grow and teach the industry.

196 Responses to “Anheuser-Busch InBev Acquires Northern Brewer & Midwest Supplies”

  1. NibblesMN on

    My guess is that nothing will change, save for additional locations or even franchising of the Northern Brewer brand. AB InBev has no reason to mess with a good thing. The guys at Northern are rad and I’ll continue to shop there until something real changes.

    • Eric M on

      Inbev has ruined many a good beers in their ruthless monopoly games. It was the reason I started brewing as they effed up Becks which doesn’t taste the same.

      • Volcanobrew on

        Eric, I had that same argument with a group of people on FaceBook and a number of NB employees jumped in to crap on me. They began spewing hatred and saying I was a conspiracy theorist questioning everything else I posted negative about how AB InBev operates and requested verifiable sources for my rants. After I posted 5 articles from websites like Bloomberg and Forbe’s Magazine they got all silent. I guess they saw the 1400 job lay offs that happened after Carlos Brito took the helm of AB and they were busy sending out resumes.

      • Stephen on

        Goose Island seemed largely unaffected by their acquisition. They lost some hipster street cred and stopped releasing as many experimental new beers but I haven’t heard anyone complain about the quality of their product declining.

          • seefish on

            No, I don’t think that it is. They had a massive barrel expansion, props to them for not pasteurizing.

        • Joao Ribeiro de Gusmao on

          they are flooding brazils market with goose island ipa and hoonkers, setting the price really low even for local brewerys

        • sanguine on

          Any brand that InBEV acquires they ruin. They change the hops, the barley, and every other ingredient and destroy the quality. They even destroyed the quality of Budweiser (hard to do) when they purchased them..

    • jmm888 on

      Agree with you Nibbles, It’s my LHBS so not sure I’m ready to convert to only internet ordering. They folks at NB are great and I still think they deserve my support.

    • rkadish on

      No reason to mess with a good thing. Here is what InBev does. They make money, they will cut any program that causes a loss of revenue in the company. Did you know Anheuser Busch had a program in the 2007-2009 time frame where each brewery was producing a micro brew? There were products such as Bare Knuckle stout, SkipJack and others that were immediately killed off as soon as inbev took over, what about Busch gardens? Is that owned by InBev? NO. Not a profitable asset so i was sold off. I can say that with this acquisition you will see less sales and I would image some prices will go up.They are in it only for profit and a 20% off sale makes no profit.

      • thereverendmaynard on

        Prices go up? Yikes! NB/MW already have the highest prices of any homebrew shop I see online. I never order from them. The only time their prices are comparable is when they have a 20% off coupon. I dislike the “raise the price and then use coupon to get to parity” model so never shop there anymore.

      • J.D. on

        I agree, rkadish, twice a year Midwest & n.b. have excellent buy 3 for the price of? and usually I get a heckava deal! No one has these specials! I hope they dnt vanish!

      • rmarshall100 on

        Busch Gardens was not sold for revenue reasons. Busch Gardens, SeaWorld, etc. were pet projects of the Busch family. When InBev took over they chose to get rid of businesses outside of their core business area, BEER! At the time, and currently, SeaWorld entertainment is quite profitable.

    • Joe on

      It’s a principle thing. They control the distribution networks, the manufacturing, the sales, and now even the grass-roots starting point for people getting into the game of homebrewing. It’s natural to assume that they’ll begin recommending their own products to compliment the homebrew experience. It won’t be long before they start buying interests in homebrewing supply manufacturing and then brewery supply manufacturing. They’ll try to control the entire market. It’s not a real company with values, it’s a giant financial machine that preys on our society.

      Northern Brewer company will live on, and may thrive with expanded marketing capabilities, but what they stood for and what their customers stood for is dead. All we wanted was to have fun, make something of our own, connect with like-minded people, and feel like we weren’t supporting the monster. We got sold out. All of your purchase history and information is now fueling the machine to figure out how to get in front of the next little guy.

    • Yeastieboy on

      Wouldn’t that be crazy if they acquired HBT? I bet this entire forum would go 100% silent overnight. That would be awesome… for like a day, until I immediately started missing it!

  2. Nagorg on

    Ugh… Not sure that this is a good thing for the Home brew world. Another corporate giant flexing monetary muscle to affect their domain. They have felt the impact of decreased interest in their bread and butter and are looking for ways to keep revenue up. I do expect that they will eventually, slowly, make enough change that wont be in our favor.

    • Noel on

      The recipes they use to brew macros are rice-heavy. Hard to imagine they want any of “our” grain for themselves. My guess is they’re going to make it increasingly expensive to brew at home, or at least own the home brew market since controlling the commodity is the only way to invest in such a fragmented industry as the craft brew model.

      • thereverendmaynard on

        They cannot make it increasingly expensive. This is one shop (albeit a big one) among many. I purchase tons of HBS online and never buy from them (anymore). If they raise the prices even more than their current high prices – people will eventually stop buying (at least the price sensitive ones). They dont have a lock on any products – so they have almost no power to influence nationwide HB supply prices.

    • skoodog on

      From a business perspective this will probably be great for the homebrew community. This merger will help Northern Brewer get better quality ingredients as the leverage of the name InBev as a buyer from grain/hops growers will be much bigger than Northern Brewer alone.

      For LHBS shops the downside is that this may turn NB into the Walmart of online suppliers for the exact same reason. It behooves the small LHBS side to maintain the best relationships they can with local suppliers, which for those not living in the best hardiness zones, will be an issue.

      • jbenguinn on

        Interesting to see nods to “quality” and “Walmart”. Seems a little conflicting. Definitely agree about LHBS>suppliers relationships. Those will be saving graces.

      • thereverendmaynard on

        I dont think so. NB is already a large consumer based on their sales. If they put a ton of pressure on their suppliers on price this could have a “walmart” effect. effectively they have so much buyer power they force suppliers to cut quality to meet pricing demands.

  3. sleepspeaking on

    No this has to be great, I’m sure they are going to share all their recipes… Right?
    Like any member of the homebrew community?
    But now that I think about it.
    Anyone remember the commercials bashing craft brew?
    If you can’t shame them join them I suppose.
    I guess this is what they meant by “not backing down”

  4. Kmo4040 on

    I have to see how this all shakes out, but I have a feeling will be getting more of my business. I just don’t like the idea of giving a “Walmart” type company my business.

  5. raiderrob67 on

    Yea I can see this going bad for a lot of small,local HBS. they are going to be putting up store’s in all over the place and buy up all the ingredients. force the little guy out and force us to buy there product’s. FU AB inBev!

    • beerme70 on

      Well, in order to do that, they will have to buy up L.D. Carlson first. I am all for big business, but man, do I hate BIG BUSINESS. You know what I mean?

    • shoob on

      AGREED 100% This is a bad thing all around! They will eventually monopolize the market forcing us to purchase lower quality over refined products… I will no longer purchase from these two (once fine) establishments. Hopefully the remainder of our beloved small, home brew supplier ‘DON’T SELL OUT!’

      • DrCoug on

        There is nothing stopping InBev from boosting prices to make products prohibitive to the home brewers who may some day open their own brewery and compete against them!

        It is one thing for NB to sell and make a profit, but what they have done on a grand scale is to negatively impact the ones who kept them in business and handed over more power to InBev who doesn’t give a damn about craft beer except as a competitor. If you can’t beat them, buy them! Which ends up controlling the craft beer industry and thwarts the growth and quality of REAL BEER!

      • William on

        Selling out is the goal of any small business. Either sell it or grow it to be a competitive enterprise. It sucks for us consumers, but if my LHBS decides to sell their business to InBev, I’m happy for them getting the money.

  6. Kai on

    Good for the folks at NB. I hope that scored a good deal. However I am done with them and I expect many others home brewers will be as well.

  7. rmchair on

    Well I had my first screwed up order this month and was wondering what wrong. Yeah to the dept of justice for allowing a global conglomerate to control every aspect of an industry.

    • kahunapig on

      This is the real issue. Giant corporations have only one mantra… “profits”. That’s OK. It’s what they do. However, our ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES are the ones bailing on us. It’s why we have to choose a President from such poor choices. We should be focusing on a Congress that will control bigness without 4000 page regulations that the small guys can’t cope with.

      Also, If someone offered you millions for your business, would you be able to resist? Really?

  8. OakIslandBrewery on

    Hopefully nothing will come of it but I fear it’s another form of control. Craft brewing has a good following but just about every craft brewer started out as a home brewer.

    • Bill on

      I agree with the comments about poor service. Some of their staff, in particular, Cheers James J are rude, arrogant, disrespectful and condescending. I no longer do business with them because of it. I see no change in the homebrew market as there are plenty of other suppliers.

  9. Bwiznutz on

    Nothing good can come out of this. Big corporations trying to monopolize the industry and take out the little guys. Must be hard to admit that Joe Brewer can make better beer in his kitchen or garage.

  10. John on

    Anheuser-Busch InBev (Budweiser, Coors and Miller) are responsible for the commoditization and dumbing down of beer with short cuts and cheap ingredients. There are things in life more important than money, and money is all that this sale/purchase is about. I have unsubscribed from their e-mails and will purchase from the many independent homebrew retailers left , instead.

  11. David Austermann on

    Amen to raiderrob67!!! I’m just a little fish in a big pond and it’s bad enough this BS merger with Miller went through and now they’re going to fu%#&)!(&)&% with us? We all need to take a stand and RALLY behind our “little guy” suppliers and keep them out of the hands of corporate raiders!!!!!!!!!

    • Joe Brandt on

      Actually that would probably put the ‘little guy” large enough to be on the corporate radar and be bought up as well. A vicious cycle with no way out.

  12. JDWebb on

    This is disturbing news. I disagree with giant conglomerates swallowing up smaller companies like they were meat on the table, AB/Inbev has zero interest in serving the homebrew community, they’ve worked hard to stop the craft beer industry until they submitted to the movement and joined in with their own versions of imitation craft brews. Small businesses have two things giant corporations lack, loyalty and relationships, and that weighs heavily while I conduct business with them. It is part of the reason I chose to to do business with them. I will probably spread my purchases around to other craft beer supply companies, I certainly won’t be giving them ALL my business like I did before.

  13. popgunandy on

    I don’t see how this changes anything. Local shops are already beaten on price by internet sales; they survive or die on service and by keeping interest in the hoppy high in their community. It’s possible there’s a threat to other internet-based brew shops, but that’s a big ‘maybe.’ More than likely, this was just a no-brainer opportunity to buy a steady and growing revenue stream.

    • skraeling on

      Eh, sorta. Midwest is selling reconditioned ball lock kegs for 100 bucks each… seriously 100.00. I could pick up refurbed from my local one for 79. or new ones for 100.

      As it is i ordered new ones from farmhouse for 75 lol.

    • Crucial BBQ on

      I dunno. I have two LHBSs to choose from. Both are a little more expensive, sure, but the fact that I can walk into either one of them, purchase my goods, and be brewing in that same day is worth the few extra dollars and time saved by not waiting for the shipment to arrive.

      What I really see as the issue here is this: some, but not all, small breweries (namely nano’s, brewpubs, etc.) who do not have a robust distributor, if one at all, gets some, or sometimes all, of their ingredients from an LHBS. What I see potentially happening here is that InBev is looking to control what these nano’s have access to, if not outright making it difficult for them to operate.

      MWS and NB were purchased by InBev’s disruptive growth arm. In any market, for any particular product, there typically exists a high-end (luxury) and a low-end (budget). Disrupters enter into the low-end segment and offer products that are only good enough. After time, once they have a solid foothold, they are then in a position to take market share away from the high-end by improving on their “good-enough” and even by creating their own high-end. Toyota is a good example of this. They entered the U.S. market in the 1960s, established a strong foothold during the 70s, they surpassed the Big 3 when manufacturing was sent to Mexico and Toyota still building in America. Then, they created Lexus to compete with the luxury cars. OnePlus, ZTE, Huawei are other examples. Google Docs vs MS Word, and cell phones vs long-distance calling/Skype vs International calling, are others. And of course, WalMart.

      So, in going with that, my guess is that InBev wants to use this as a first step in flooding the market with cheap but decent “craft” beer. They won’t have to buy anyone out only to close doors, which was their old strategy. What they will do in the future is flood the market with beer that is passable, yet, $3-4 less a sixpack.

      Don’t forget that Budweiser changed their flavor to match the changing tastes and diets of Americans, not the other way around. I don’t care of InBev, I wish they would go away, but you don’t have to look far to see that it is in their best interests (that is, $$$$$) to get their hands into producing “real” instead of simply trying to shut everyone down.

      With that, MidWest used to be my LHBS when I was still living in Minneapolis. haven’t purchased from them in nearly a decade now, so what is another ten years if ever again at all?

    • BrewCat on

      Every time you have by-passed your Local Homebrew Supply Store, to shop elsewhere they have suffered. Northern Brewer’s prices are actually more expensive than some or most of your local suppliers have been. I say have been because while you were shopping, many of your local homebrew supply stores have gone out of business. If you want to keep your local homebrew supply store alive and in the neighborhood, go by today and shop with them and most likely they will tell you how much they appreciate your business.

  14. Righteoustoad on

    I refuse to buy Anheuser-Busch InBev products and this acquisition pushes Midwest Supplies and Northern Brewer into my ‘donotsupport’ list. I’ve have good dealings with Adventures in Homebrewing, Morebeer, and Austin Homebrew; they’ll be getting more business from me.

  15. Eric on

    Just a small correction for the post but ss of October 11, 2016 MillerCoors is now wholly owned by the Molson Coors brewing Company. ABInBev had to sell those brands as part of the anti-trust agreement.

  16. matchrocket on

    Its getting harder and harder to support the community HBS and breweries when crap like this happens. I like Northernbrewer…. I will gladly pay more NOT to feed the inbev monster and keep money in my community.

    To bad really….

  17. colby_cheeze on

    My town just got our first LHBS less than a year ago. That couldn’t have been better timing, because I’ll never order supplies from Northern Brewer again.

    • Spartan300man on

      “TheHairyHop on October 15th, 2016 – 6:51pm
      This article states that AB InBev owns Coors. It does not. Coors is a part of MolsonCoors”

      Miller/Coors has merged with AB INBev.

      • beernutz on

        AB Inbev acquired SABMiller back in July but as part of that acquisition they were required to divest fully their MillerCoors stake. So AB Inbev and MillerCoors are fully independent of each other.

  18. kristiismean on

    Good for the owners of Northern Brewer. They worked hard, figured out a Great Working Model, and Hopefully received proper compensation for all their hard work.

    I will continue to buy from my local LHBS, and northern brewer and others based on pricing, shipping costs and product quality

  19. TBC on

    I just unsubscribed from my Midwest email and told them I won’t support InBev. For everyone that is looking at leaving check out Rite Brew. There prices are great and shipping is fast and cheap. I’m not affiliated with them, I found out about them on here.

  20. EM on

    Make sure you unsubscribe from their emails. In the reason section hit other and write in your comments. Then take your business to the other fine retailers.

  21. stalwort on

    What? No talk about where your LHBS gets THEIR supplies from? In fact, where do they get them from? I have a feeling AB-InBev is looking to be THE main supply chain to all LHBS and online searchers. This is how they intend to make up some of their shrinking beer sales revenue I guess. Not good.

    • kahunapig on

      This also is right on. AB-InBev is not a retail outlet business. It is a supplier. It will be practically irresistible to your LHBS, if like mine, they stock a lot of equipment, malts, and kits. Will it be bad? Probably not in the short term, probably yes in the long run.

    • Taylor on

      The main wholesalers are LD Carlson, Brewcraft and BSG (Crosby & Baker). Northern Brewer, MoreBeer/Fermentap, etc., do not offer competitive pricing compared to those three. And it’s a simple thing to get a direct resale acct from Country Malt Group, BSG, Briess or whomever. Any LHBS buying from another HBS has bigger problems than this merger.

  22. Spartan300man on

    so I think that AB_InBev only plans to mix the hops pellets 50/50 with hay and straw, for that distinctive taste they like. So we will need to adjust our recipes accordingly.

  23. Minky on

    I guess I will reserve judgement until we see how things shake out, but I won’t be surprised if we start seeing some of the supplies, such as the rarer, small-crop hops, disappear from the other suppliers, only to be found at Northern and Midwest.

  24. WaltStarr on

    My response is simple. I’ve unsubscribed from the NB and MW emails and simply won’t purchase a thing from them ever again.

    Done deal, plenty of homebrew shops out there. Just have to watch for Morebeer being bought out next.

  25. dwhite on

    Cannot blame InBev. You cannot fault them for what was willingly SOLD. If these were privately held companies InBev could not acquire them through force of the dollar. I won’t be supporting them though. Hope the Midwest and NB guys made their money and are happy. Good luck to them.

  26. stainlessbrewer on

    Potential profits are the reason for AB doing this but given their public treatment (bashing) of the craft brewing industry I will no longer do business with NB or Midwest.

  27. IloveWorts on


    • Jason Egan on

      I like the way you think!! George would deff not like the county he helped start that is now “For big business, by big business, of big business.”
      Everybody that worked for Bud before they got sold has said that InBev treats everybody like dirt and trash that can be disposed of when they don’t need them. Not a good company.
      I will not be using NB any more, for sure!

  28. Magnus314 on

    NB and Midwest have both sucked for years. Bland recipes, high ingredient pricing, and nothing interesting to separate them from the better, higher quality competition.

    A perfect match.

  29. GHBWNY on

    Because of the convenience of “having it all” in homebrew supplies and ingredients via online distribution, there are an unprecedented number of homebrewers on this globe. It is a cycle of ‘availability of supplies = brewers = availabilities of supplies’, etc.. But if that were to drastically change or go away, the true homebrewer will somehow still find barley, hops, yeast and basic equipment and persevere and make good beer.

  30. brandonnys on

    To address a few of the “AB InBev doesn’t own MillerCoors” guys… You’re right. They don’t own MillerCoors. They own SABMiller, and were forced to sell their 58% stake in MillerCoors to Molsen for $12 Billion.

    As for the deal at hand, I personally have never relied on NB for anything. I have a few LHBS here in Oregon. My problem is how NB being bought will affect my LHBS. If AB decides to slim their margins out and push volume in order to be the “go-to” destination for HB supplies, it could drastically impact my LHBS, forcing them to either match the pricing and sacrifice their margin, or only cater to people who need it now and are willing to pay a premium. This would cause reductions/stagnation in inventory, potential supply chain issues (if AB decided to reserve exclusivity of some products simply by buying all of the available inventory), or many other issues that could arise.

    Or, if could just be a money deal that has no affect on the homebrew world. That is also entirely possible.

  31. PittsburghBrewer on

    After buying my first three kits from NB, I went to LHBS for the first time on Saturday to get supplies for batch #4. The main motivator was that I don’t like ordering liquid yeast by mail. After reading this disappointing news, however, LHBS will be seeing much more of me.

    This deal seems incredibly tone-deaf on NB’s part. It would be like Monsanto acquiring Whole Foods. I know that I got into homebrewing to avoid supporting the AB-InBev’s of the world. If they made great beer, I would never had gotten the idea of making my own.

    I used to think that NB was a “cool” brand, and I was happy to have their logo on my fermenter. Their products have been good, so I probably won’t stop using them completely. Now, however, they have moved from first choice to “if I have to, I guess.”

  32. djk on

    Sad, as my first homebrew setup was from MW, and I used NB for more recent upgrades. I had great customer service experiences, but that was also over a year ago…

    At least there are 2 LHBS nowadays for me to go to.

  33. Anderbrau on

    Craft beer and, by extension, homebrewing, have an element of localism at their core. One of the greatest benefits a craft brewer brings to a community is the sense of community identity, a sense of it being “our” brewery. I’m sure everyone on this comment board has gladly paid a premium for locally-brewed beer. LHBS shops are no different. They are part of the local community. They add to the city’s financial strength, and a good LHBS will provide knowledge and guidance for its customers in a way that no online store can do. For this reason, I am pledging to do ALL of my business at my LHBS from this point on. I will gladly shell out a few more dollars in order to support a local business, rather than see the community-oriented aspect of brewing sacrificed in the name of price.

  34. bob wallace on

    T’is sad. Happy for the millions the owners made, sad for the HB community. I hope they realize what they did to local home brewers by selling their soul. They had to know we’d be upset. but do they care?
    I agree that nothing good will come of this for Minneapolis area. What other LHBS will be scarfed up by the other big brew companies I wonder. Is this the start of the end? For inBev this a drop of wort in a million gallon Boil Kettle, for us it is the whole kettle. Makes you wonder what kind of service and product will be available for a company that thinks intelligent beer drinker are the enemy.

  35. ShaLaH on

    I also pledge to shop locally & from small shops for a few bucks more. I don’t want big business capitalizing on my hobby. Adventures in Homebrewing is usually where I shop. I’ll pay a few extra bucks to my LHBS or AIH instead of Northern Brewer/Midwest. It’s a shame that all great grass-roots communities get co-opted by massive corporations once we’ve laid the groundwork for proven success.

  36. Bob on

    It’s pretty ironic that so many people are upset that the largest brewing conglomerate now owns the largest homebrew supplier. Its not like you cared about supporting small businesses…

  37. Joe on

    If you happen to live in Minneapolis/St. Paul and you like the smaller local shops, give Brew and Grow a try. They’ve upped their game a lot in the last year or so. Nice grain room, good selection of products, attentive customer service, prices are competitive. I kinda felt Midwest and Northern slipping away from our local scene a few years back, and so Brew and Grow gets my business. Cheers.

  38. Lawrence C Spies on

    “…the global Disruptive Growth Unit of Anheuser-Busch InBev.” pretty much says it all! I am done with NB and Midwest Supplies, I will shop local privately owned/mom and pop brew shops, from now on.

  39. Joe on

    I don’t see any issue here. Inbev wants to win back business.
    Doubt they are trying to kill homebrew. Seems like a profitable market research move.
    What better way to know what people are making/drinking than to study what they buy.
    What better way than to have a live connection to the shopping lists of millions of LH’ers?
    And make money doing it? Win/Win.

    It’s just market research, not some evil plan to make all taps pour equine filtered water.

  40. luvmesumbeer on

    I bought my first homebrew kit from Northern Brewer 4 years ago. They helped me get started homebrewing. Now I buy almost everything from my local HB supplier with the exception of an occasional specialty item .

    Homebrewing and craft beer go hand in hand. AB InBev is not a friend to the craft beer industry or home brewers. I will not make any future purchases from Northern Brewer or MidWest Supplies out of principle.

  41. Jeff Olson on

    As bad as NB and Midwest are in the shipping department maybe this will be good. But until I see a change I still won’t be doing business with them, 10-14 days on an order is too long, And not only that, their UPS rates are through the roof compared to other suppliers that are equally far away that use usps and fed ex that are about 1/2 and the shipping time is 5 days on the long side, usually 1-2 days coming from over 1k miles away to my remote rocky mountain location.

  42. Steve on

    AB InBev’s values and mine do not coincide. I’ve already requested my name and address be removed from Northern Brewer’s mailing list. I was never on Midwest Supply’s. Fortunately I have the largest homebrew shop in my state not far from home. All rants aside, the best tactic in this case is simply to not shop either of the two AB InBev “homebrew” shops.

  43. Keith Patton on

    I tend to vote with my wallet. I’ve spent hundreds through N. Brewer in the past, but will have to forego doing business with them in the future. If you read anything about the strategy espoused by the CEO of ABInbev, you understand that the man wants to control the commercial beer market. If megabeer sales are flat then the only segment left is craft brews. I did the math the other day while having a beer with my wife. Today’s craft brews go for $6-7 a pint. I can make 5 gallons of IPA for not much more than the cost of five or six pints, say $35. That 5 gallons is equal to 40 pints, or $260. I am sure that the cost savings is not lost on ABInbev. So it figures that any way they can make money off of the homebrew segment is just more money they have to buy up independent craft breweries. I refuse to aid and abet anything that will destroy what homebrewers have helped build. My money will stay local and in the small HBS shops.

  44. HB on

    Sure the homebrew supply side is a nice pickup for AB/Inbev, but NB supplies A LOT of stuff to the craft industry on the commercial side. Russian River, Stone, big craft breweries, they buy from NB. I think that is a much bigger deal here than the homebrew side…..

  45. Cole on

    Been supporting MyLHBS within the last few months over ordering online. It is now quite clear to me I’ll be continuing that trend. I will also most absolutely be unsubscribing from their emails and giving a specific reason why.

  46. Jeremy on

    Wow, even the statement from the founder was exactly the same as every AB brewery that has been bought out.
    “We are excited about all the new resources that will help our customers and nothing will ever change….

  47. Jayred on

    F those guys anyway. Support your local brew store. I only shop at Brewers Connection and What Ales Yah here in Phoenix, AZ. If you don’t have a local brew shop then start one! These local shops around the country have very strong home brew communities and are doing great. Northern brewer kinda went down hill after Chip, Dawson, and those original guys left anyway.

  48. goodsuds on

    I’m not an AB fanboy, but growing up in STL I saw AB as a local icon and a symbol of prosperity. After seeing them slash their workforce and hearing the horror stories from people who worked their before and after the acquisition, I have no interest in giving them any of my money. I’ll be taking my business elsewhere.

  49. vampdee on

    I won’t be using either of them anymore after this acquisition. Part of the reason I homebrew is I don’t like supporting the huge giants. That said, I have a friend in Grayson, GA that runs a pretty good LHBS… OperationHomebrew. I will be sure to give him all of my business now, where in the past, I would go to NHB or Midwest for equipment (just out of laziness).

    • Yoggers on

      Or accessing new markets.
      Or adding to their customer base.
      Or adding new lines of revenue.
      Or diversifying their holdings.
      Not everything a corporation does is for evil purposes. Anti-trust laws are in place specifically to prevent suppressing competition. Not defending InBev, just answering your questions.

  50. hlmbrwng on

    The fact that Anheuser-Busch made a Super Bowl commercial bashing Craft Beer is the main reason this pisses me off. They are not for craft beer, and therefore, they are not for home brewing. What a slap in the face. If they are trying to crush craft beer by spending all of that money on a Super Bowl commercial, just think of what their plans are. To think that they are doing this just to own the company and reap the profits is foolish. They will likely be doing more than that.

    Seriously? SERIOUSLY!?!?!? Now you buy the biggest sellers of home brew supplies? That’s absurd.

    I will be buying as much product as I can from my LHBS.

  51. Grainpaw on

    Speaking as owner of a small LHBS in business for 25 years, I guarantee that we need your money a lot worse than AB-InBev does. I serve not only the mainstream homebrewers who join the clubs and read the magazines, etc, but people who are casual brewers just keeping themselves satisfied, people out in the boonies without internet, and old-timers doing it Prohibition-style. I’m the one who holds the hands of beginners who panic and think nothing is happening because the airlock isn’t bubbling, when they just have an air leak. I’m the one who repeatedly explains proper grain mashing to moonshiners, who have heard they need malt, but don’t have a clue what it is or how to use it. I’m the one who talks people out of using Chlorox to sanitize. I’m the one who goes to festivals, talks myself hoarse, hands out free samples, listens to exploding bottle stories until I want to charge for the service, and barely makes gas and lunch money. I’m the one who tries to solve everyone’s problems and barely makes minimum wage and expenses doing it. People who don’t love doing this don’t last long. It would be encouraging to have some new regular customers.

  52. GPP33 on

    It’s funny seeing all these people bitch about the big bad corp and they are just now going to start supporting their LHBS. Where was your support for the little guy before this happened?

    I suspect that in 6 months 95% of the posters bitching will forget about who owns what and once again purchase based on price alone while the little guy down the road who’s there for you and willing to help you with or ideas or problems struggles.

    This sucks for those who these businesses are their LHBS. For those who have no LHBS there are plenty of other online options, for those of us who have a LHBS (assuming it doesn’t suck) you should have been shopping all along!

    • Terek on

      I only buy from my LHBS. Do you buy food online and have it shipped? Then why your brewing ingredients? I guess if you have no LHBS, then yes, but there are oodles of other online shops not owned by this terrible company. But because of this, i wont even think about buying, or even visiting the websites of these two companies now.

      • Onkel_Udo on

        OK, I do order specialty food items online while residing in the US and did a lot more of it while residing overseas. So I do find you view incredibly narrow.

        I also order specialty items from from Northern Brewery, Austin Homebrew Supply, Adventures in Homebrewing, Morebeer, etc. I also buy kegs from multiple sources online.

        Will I stop ordering from NB/Midwest…kind of already did. Would this cause me to stop as I am also a fan of buy local when reasonable. My LHBS has way to long a lag time for items not on the self when AiH is a 2-days shipping away, cheaper and awesome to deal with.

  53. Terek on

    i will NEVER buy from them again. This is bull, and we should all boycott them. Tell them that they cannot bully there way into our hobby, by making northern brewer go bankrupt. If no one buys, they wont make money. It will send a clear message and they might leave us alone.
    For those of you that dont think this is a big deal, and will continue to support them, do some research. Look into some documentaries and such about this company, and what they do. It is a very evil company that does not care about you, or your hobby. They only care about taking every dime they can from you. This will affect the quality of the product you get from them for sure. But they are just strait up evil. Dont support this. Dont buy from them. Shut this crap down.

  54. Domenico on

    we all think about Busch had Acquries Northern Brewer &Midwest was it for the site the area where it is in or the people that buy from them there could be many things but what I don’t want to is for people to loose there jobs they should keep them for what they all know and what they do to make people come in and buy from them I;am from Canada Toronto Ontario the company they buy was a small one they are the ones that kick butt and make any one come in make them feel good and they know what they have to do

  55. Shawn McCarter on

    I’m sure that nothing will change… or not much. I for one will stop purchasing from Northern Brewer and Midwest Supply. I guess that’s one very minimal thing that will change I suppose.

    This, I fear, is the beginning of the end of the home brew movement. Corporate America owns us all. It’s inevitable I’m afraid. People tend to shop with the huge corporate shops. Wal-Mart, AT&T, Home Depot, Dicks Sporting Goods, Best Buy, Etc… I see no reason to believe that they’ll stop with this. Sheep led to slaughter I suppose.

    I’ll shop the independent sites and shops while they’re still available. I’m sure that at some point we’ll all be brewing Bud Light because there will be no other ingredients available to us.

    What a shame.

  56. TrickyDick on

    I have been increasingly moving AWAY from the “big guys” though in past have had excellent service when things were wrong. I haven’t made many purchases through Midwest, but in the past 10 years have bought many kits and stuff from NB. In the past 3-4 years, I’ve been moving to buying from the new and only LHBS (which has awesome service, but the hops and dry yeast aren’t the best storage-wise) and have been migrating to online retailers like Farmhouse and Hops Shack and of course, MoreBeer! for the rest. Mostly my shift in buying has been driven by shipping costs, but sadly will now be a political matter. I do not wish to support InBev in ANY manner, and now that I have been informed, I am free to do so.

  57. MaddBaggins on

    I know for a lot of you the web is your only source for homebrew ingredients and equipment. This sucks for you guys/gals. There’s lots of other online sources. Take your business elsewhere. I have a great LHBS (they also do online sales- and have been shopping there for nearly 20yrs. I’ve made a couple small purchases from NB, over the years, just to see if they were better than my local source, but never again. They don’t have anything I need that bad and I do my best to not support large corporations when I can. Spend your money with the local/independent shop for beer ingredients and for anything else you can.

  58. Joe Mudd on

    The UN-Justice department signing off on the An-bev merger this last summer was
    Pure Cintonesque Globalist run the Government that exists for the elite only.
    Good thing the anti-trust squad was all over this deal.
    Vote Trump.

  59. Cole on

    For all those who do NOT have a LHBS near you, I recommend aka I was actually using them a lot after Midwest as I found their shipping to be very fast and reasonable. I also liked how they packaged their grain. They separate it so you kind of get the feel of ‘learning’ what’s going into your beer instead of just getting one big bag of grain all mixed up.

  60. bbohanon on

    Who is surprised by this? Not me. This is corporate America at its finest..If you cannot beat em, just buy em. That way they get your money regardless. I still only buy things online if I cannot get them at the LHBS (Like awesome Golden Naked Oats) so I personally don’t expect a big hit on this..For those who shop online, why not wait and see what happens before crying foul? If you can still get your materials at the price you were paying before and your beer is still better than AB’s, who cares honestly?
    AB/Inbev is the head of a very large snake that is not going to go away and at the end of the day, even if they dismantle/shred the NB/MWB shops to the bone, others will step in and take their place in the online arena of HBS..believe me. The HB scene is not going away and has some of the most headstrong/defiant folks I know when it comes to AB/InBev types (which is a good thing).
    I say take a wait and see mentality with this..

    • Anderbrau on

      “If you can still get your materials at the price you were paying before and your beer is still better than AB’s, who cares honestly?”
      Price should not be the only factor in making a decision about who to do business with. AB is in direct competition with other breweries whose products and business philosophy I value higher than AB. Money spent at NB/Midwest now flows back to AB. I would like to avoid that. I am willing to pay a few extra dollars at my LHBS for my (let’s be honest) totally frivolous hobby. If you’ve already spent a few grand on equipment, why quibble about spending an extra $10 at your LHBS for ingredients and supplies?

  61. Rodney on

    Organized Crime is alive and well. Yes this is a good business move on there part but the beer industry already controls to much of the industry. Why don’t you just let the small guy have some fun rather then attempt to control everything? While your at it move some of that money over to charity groups on the local community then contributing as much to the political dog and pony show that’s going on in our government that is turning there heads.

  62. Norselord on

    So, i got a survey question from northernbrewer in the mail yesterday.

    Rated them a 0.

    They wanted to know why.

    I said: AB InBev

  63. David on

    Sad, to hear this. I spent significant amounts of money at NB and Midwest, I also have paid very good attention to how AB Inbev has used the legal system to snuff out smaller brewers. I’ve had a few Elysian brews since they were bought, and while the quality hasn’t appeared to change, I’m still waiting as I don’t believe they will leave well-enough alone. Once the financial sharks start circling. I sure hope I’m wrong, but AB has a long history of doing anything in their power to keep the little guys down, so in my opinion, the writing is on the wall.

    They made craft brewing an enemy of theirs long ago, so to hear that they’re buying up more and more has most of us justifiably concerned.

    In the mean time, I’ll support my LHBS as well as some of the other online stores not currently bought out by AB Inbev until I see how this shakes out.

    I also think it’s telling that when breweries, and now home brew supply stores, sell out, they don’t address the elephant in the room. They talk about how nothing will change, the growth, etc, knowing full well that the home brew industry has been very leery of AB. If they, and AB, came out addressing the concerns, that’d be one thing, but to completely gloss over it tells me there might be some ulterior motives. Again, I might be wrong (and would welcome it).

  64. Chris on

    So first there AB-InBev buys Northern Brewer/Midwest Supplies, then I read about hop shortages. Maybe it is this elections cycle, but anyone else thinking conspiracy? :)

  65. ajw85 on

    You are incorrectly referencing the 70% of beer sales statistic from your source. AB InBev is divesting MillerCoors and whatever else to keep everything business as usual in the US.

  66. Local on

    As a member of a couple Homebrew clubs in Minneapolis St. Paul area, this news tears me to the core. It’s really nice to get support from Midwest and Northern Brewer when it comes to club meetings and drop off locations for brewing Contests. Midwest is just down the street from me and those guys are giving me a lot of advice in the past year and a half. Everyone on here has the right to do what they want. Unfortunately if if a bunch of customers jump ship it may force them to stop supporting us. My gut reaction was to dump them too but I thought of all the Club meetings and swag and discounts and advice I’ve got from them over the years and I feel I can’t just dump them yet. If they stop supporting our clubs and yes they are goners.

  67. 56Beers on

    It’s too bad. Not because NB and MW won’t still be good resources but that innovation and personal touch will be much harder to keep alive under a zillion layers of management and process.

  68. ErbiumYAG on

    If they could legally do it, InBev would like nothing more than complete elimination of all competition world-wide. It’s not enough for them to have the dominant market share. The craft beer movement has become a thorn in their side. While they are nowhere near collapse, they have seen the ever so slightest drop in their dominance. It’s like a fly annoying the sleeping giant as he tries to rest after gorging on a meal fit for a king. Now he’s fixated on that fly. It’s one thing if a small brewer here or there wants to sell out. I just won’t buy those particular brands any longer. I still have many, many more choices. When InBev starts buying up the sources that fuel our hobby, it now becomes personal and worrysome. InBev isn’t doing this to enrich the homebrewing experience. They know that nearly every craft brewer out there today started brewing in their own kitchens. Control the hobby and you’ll eventually control the aspirations of people who could have otherwise been future competition. I guarantee you the NB purchase will not be the last. They don’t have to buy out too many businesses and spend too much money before they’re having a bigger impact on our hobby than you think. I honestly hope to be proven wrong. I honestly hope it somehow is advantageous to home brewers; but I am first going to be very suspicious. I don’t like greedy giants playing in my backyard.

  69. Jessiegaddy on

    I just cancelled my account at NB and will make the hour drive to the LHBS in another state because this is going to ruin NB as a company. This also explains why it took 12 days to get some corks and bottle caps from them a couple weeks ago.

  70. Chris on

    I actually stopped shopping at both Northern and Midwest years ago, I really like the more exotic recipe’s over at Jasper’s I swear I’m not affiliated, and I don’t know how big they are, or if they are just some LHBS with a website. Prices are decent, the ingredients are definitely more fresh. They say they don’t package your order until you order it. I don’t have time / patience for all grain, and I’m not very creative, and they are. So I really like just brewing their extract recipes and having a cold 5 gallon keg of it near me at all times! I recommend them if that fits your level of brewing.

  71. dwhite60 on

    I emailed AB about a six pack of Bass ale I’d bought. I had not had a BASS is quite a few years but, I was shocked by how bland a recent six-pack was. First swallow and I was thinking “Where’s the flavor?”. They said same recipe it’s always been. I told them BS and I would NOT be buying more. Might as well just had a BMC.

  72. kelly on

    This makes me sad. While miller lite is my go to ‘if nothing else’ beer, I happen to live about 10 minutes from their St. Paul location. I buy most of my grain from them in bulk. I know that much of their domestic bulk is also local, so maybe I find a way to bypass them? End result will for sure be higher prices.

  73. seefish on

    Don’t know what the big deal is…NB got sold to big money a couple years ago. People just starting to notice now because it is the big bad wolf AB-Inbev. NB lost their soul to me when Chip, Keeler, and Dawson got pushed out with the last buyout.

  74. psymonkey on

    This is so disturbing. I will certainly never purchase another product from Midwest or NB. The thing that gets me is that AB had a MASSIVE role in how terrible beer got in this country, and has tried really hard to keep it that way. They’ve been selling and marketing a shit product for decades, so for NB to sell to them of all people removes all respect I had for the company instantly. They have been the enemy of good beer for my entire life, literally. I’ve always shopped primarily at my LHBS, but hit NB up for good sales on hardware and other odds and ends from time to time.

  75. Ethan on

    These posts evidence a lot of emotion and less common business sense. First, growth in the homebrew market (i.e., selling of equipment and supplies to homebrewers) has more or less leveled out. Consolidation is occurring not only among equipment and supply distributors, but also among ingredient makers. You’d be surprised to find out how much of your grains, hops and various adjuncts are really made and then distributed at the wholesale level by so few players, many corporate owned. How many of your sacred low-cost kettles are really made in one, maybe two Chinese factories, with different labels slapped on. Second, most of the innovation in “toys” has pretty much leveled off. You can achieve a boil, transfer your liquids, saturate wort with hops, etc. only in so many different ways. And you can only buy so many of these toys before you realize you need to brew beer. It’s called market saturation. Think of it as we’ve reached the end of the 60 minute hop boil, and the market is ready to cool down for yeast addition. (Don’t forget the American-made wort chiller).

    So what’s an owner to do when growth isn’t there and someone comes along with deep pockets and [Marlo Brando speech] makes you an offer you can’t refuse? It’s the time-honored conservative American tradition: sell and move into your gated Florida community. In truth, the industry changes with time, as do consumer needs and market demands. (Don’t forget other factors such as interest rates, capital expenditures, health costs, etc.). InBev and the other beer-making behemoths are not stupid, and they may be making the rational medium-range decision in trying to figure out small to medium size market changes and how to make money out of it. It’s what their investors and shareholders demand of their company in order to stay relevant.

    The good news is that there is still a lot of competition and alternative vendors to choose from (e.g., Adventures in Homebrewing, More Beer, etc.), but there’s change in the industry. Owners get old, have kids to put through school, and wish to retire. Perhaps LD Carlson, which is a large wholesale distributor, will begin to move into the retail or direct sales market. So, after you all have cooled down, had a beer, you’ll realize you’ll still be able to buy your made-in-china toys and your grain and hops from the usual sources. Just be ready to change your browser’s bookmarks.


    • TulsaTax on

      Ethan, a clinical analysis. Perhaps In Bev is merely conceding the hobby production is here to stay. Perhaps the negative emotion is the realization that the 30 year home brewing movement is no longer hipster, but main stream. Had my first home brew 30 years ago and it was terrible. Ten years latter had my second home brew and knew right then and there change is coming….the swill will no longer be. Did extract for 10 years because I could not stomach all that work, DIY stuff, and equipment for all grain. Building a 100 square foot brewery in my basement based on the Braumeister because now all grain is easy because it is now mainstream.

  76. Tcombob on

    Just told NB to close my account, as if anyone actually does that any more. Can’t stomach the InBev AKA Bland Bev merger, like so much these days anything can be bought with money. LHB or a smaller on-line store will get my future business. So long NB.

  77. Kathryn Vallish on

    Support your Local Homebrew Supply Store!

    Each and every local homebrew supply store in this country depends on you in order to just stay in business. Please consider this a wake up call to go see our local supplier today. One way for your local shops to be able to be able to lower their prices is if they have enough business to buy grains and hops in bulk. That takes having a greater quantity of brewers frequenting their stores.

    I owned The Brewing Station in West Virginia in the 90’s and opened Barley & Vine in Stockbridge, GA in 2009. Operating a Local Homebrew Supply store has always been a labor of love. Most of these storeowners are not even looking to make a profit, they just want to break even.

    I know some of you don’t have a store in your town. Please find the closest store that you can get supplies from. Most can and will ship.

    Support your local Homebrew Supply Store!

  78. poorboy5 on

    I’m taking a wait and see approach to the NB/MW acquisition. I never bought anything from them anyway, so it wouldn’t be a big loss to them if I didn’t shop there. I do, however, have a problem with a company running a commercial that ridicules fans of craft beer (and I think most if not all homebrewers fall into that category) while at the same time buying craft breweries that sell (or sold?) to this same crowd. To me, this looked like a reactive move by a large company that saw craft beer taking a chunk of it’s profits, then tried to stem the bleeding and protect their market share. The NB/MW acquisition seems to have the same logic behind it. They figure that most homebrewers, being fans of craft beer, probably aren’t going to spend much if at all on macro beer, so they’ll try and recover some of that loss by having a fairly large presence in the homebrew supply market. Stem the bleeding, protect your market share. Maintain shareholder value, if not increase it. Work towards having a controlling share in homebrewing supplies. As far as any changes to NB/MW, good or bad, due to the acquisition, time will tell and the devil is always in the details.

    Just my thoughts, however crazy they may be.

    I’m fortunate enough to have a LHBS, so if I have to vote with my wallet, I’ll continue to keep it local and support the guys and gals at my LHBS. That way, the next time I bump into them at the grocery store, pub, etc., I can go in the knowledge that my business and that of others helped make that trip possible. I’ve owned a small business before, so I know firsthand that small business owners really appreciate each and every customer and sale they get, and they don’t take it for granted.

    Failing all this, I know that homebrewers, being a crafty and resourceful bunch, will find a way to work around any difficulties imposed by this acquisition. As a hobby & craft, it’s grown from essentially nothing to where it is now, and I’m sure it would again if need arose. I hope & pray it doesn’t come to that.

  79. MatthewDLW on

    Well I shopped for years and spent thousands of dollars ordering from Northern Brewer/Midwest Supplies and recommending them to countless people. It’s sad that I can no longer recommend them and will no longer purchase anything associated with them. Anheiser Busch is a corrupt, unethical, and disgusting company and it’s a sad day that another craft/independent/and self sufficiency company has fallen victim to large corporate monopolization of another industry! Anyone who enjoys craft beer or is a home brewer should stop ordering from these companies immediately! If you purchase any products from Anheiser Busch you are digging the grave for an independent and a great craft industry!

  80. limulus on

    This whole thing is a result of the deal that ABI had to make with the Feds to acquire Miller. They had to agree to stop trying to snuff out craft beer. This is a way around that. I saw a post where someone used the term grass roots and this could be their way of cutting the legs out from under the entire movement. It could also be a power move for them to control it. One thing is for sure, ABI has purchasing power. If that transfers to NB/NW, then some things could become a lot less expensive. If you need bottles, ABI definitely have buying power there. I suppose you may also start seeing sankey kegs for sale at a decent price both new and used. It could also be a very underhanded way for ABI to get a greater share of the hops market under their control and we know that has been a struggle recently in the craft beer world.

    • psymonkey on

      Even if the have the buying power to purchase things cheaper, that savings will be passed on to their shareholders in the form of a higher margin. I don’t see them dropping prices for homebrewers.

  81. Just a brewer on

    Well, just another reason to keep buying local only. I would grow my own everything before I buy anything from either of those places again.

  82. mdransfi on

    I sent a comment to NB via their website’s comment page saying, “You’ve been acquired by a company that mocks craft brewing. What’s up with that?” and got a canned reply from a Craig B:

    “Our partnership with ZX Ventures is about growing Northern Brewer and providing brewers with unparalleled opportunities. This deal will make us stronger and able to pursue our passion with even greater focus, better tools, and ingredients.

    Any changes you notice will be in place to deliver a better beer experience
    We will continue to support you and your fermentations, and help our industry innovate.
    Our culture will remain as it is today: we are dedicated to our mission and to our customers as we always have been.

    We know that not everyone will be happy with this deal, but it is great for our business and the growth of homebrewing!

    Please let me know if you have any other questions.

    Craig B”

    As much as I want to be righteously indignant, my lhbs (20 minute drive) is owned and staffed by folks who seem either condescending or couldn’t care less about discussing homebrewing. Their main business is “brew on premises” and the supply side is treated like an afterthought. The next-nearest place is 45 minutes away, and although supplies are their main business, they’re not very knowledgeable, yet are condescending. Before I took a year off of brewing, the NB folks would answer questions and if I came back with “yeah, but what about x?”, they’d consider it and explain further without being douche-y about it. I don’t think that will change, at least in the short-term. The longer view might be less positive.

    I’ll likely go back to lhbs but will ask my questions to forums like this or the reddit homebrew sub.

  83. dave on

    All you guys say that the solution is to buy from your local Homebrew store.
    Great! I live in Minneapolis, Northern Brewer IS my local store.

  84. DCM5150 on

    “Some worry this acquisition along with their deep capital could allow them to pivot into the wholesale market in an attempt to gain massive control of the homebrew industry in a vertical growth move.”

    I think I got Buzzword Bingo in one sentence


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