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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.
My LHBS does online orders for those of you in need of a new supplier. http://brewyourownbrew.com/
I have only made a couple small purchases from NB in the past. No mas.
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- Brewyourownbrew.com) 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.
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.
If I was doing $50,000,000 a year in sales? Yes... Yes I could turn them down. ;)
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.
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.
For all those who do NOT have a LHBS near you, I recommend MoreBeer.com aka MoreFlavor.com. 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.
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.
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..
My question is just who did a multinational company like InBev pay off at the JustUs department to gain approval to create a conglomerate that owns 70% of the commercial US beer market?
"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?
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.
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
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).
Don't care. Quit ordering from both a few years ago when data was hacked from security issue.
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? :)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You are so spot on! I found that commercial to be totally unnecessary and needlessly confrontational. Why bash micro's? Does that make that swill Budweiser taste better? No Sale.
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.
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.
More on this subject from an owner of a HBS. 3 ways the acquisition could go. http://brulosophy.com/2016/10/20/the-industry-speaks-a-homebrew-shop-owners-thoughts-on-the-acquisition-of-northern-brewer-by-ab-inbev/
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.
I actually stopped shopping at both Northern and Midwest years ago, I really like the more exotic recipe's over at Jasper's www.BoomChugALug.com. 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.
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.
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.
That's simple, go down to your nearest farm , wait for a horse to take a leak, and add some lime concentrate
312 from Baldwinsville, NY is NOT the same beer that it used to be.
I call BS on this comment.
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.