Tim Hampson's Beer Blog

The quest for the perfect beer

Has Chicago’s Goose flown the nest?

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The blogs will be busy tonight with the angst of those who think that Goose Island has sold its craft-brewed soul.

The Chicago brewer has released a statement saying it has sold control to Anheuser-Busch InBev, maker of Budweiser, Bud Light and Stella and at times it seems like just about every other beer on the globe.

Goose Island’s founder John Hall and the creator of some fantastic beers is keeping his desk in the brewery and says the move will give the brewery the money to expand its production.

Hall doesn’t think move is the end of the world or a Faustian pact, but he is looking forward to spending $1.3 million on a new brewery. And says the brewery’s recipes will be sacrosanct.

In 2010, Goose Island sold approximately 127,000 barrels of Honkers Ale, 312 Urban Wheat Ale Matilda and its other brands.

The deal is no small beer as AB-InBev has paid $38.8 million in a two-stage sale for Goose Island. It paid $22.5 million for the 58 percent owned by Fulton Street Brewery. And it paid $16.3 million for the 42 percent stake owned by Craft Brewers Alliance.

Goose Island is no small backyard brewer. It hasn’t been for year. It is already a massive brand – and it might indeed have a craft brewed soul – but there comes a time when a company to continue to expand a business and develop new recipes has to look for investment from elsewhere. So what does it do?

Time will tell of course and already I have an image of “craft beer” fans shaking their heads and saying the beer isn’t what it used to be. However, I am certainly looking forward to my next bottle of Honkers Ale. Long may it continue.

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Written by timhampson

March 29, 2011 at 4:30 pm

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