Corporate beer is on the takeover hunt. On Monday, it was reported that Anheuser-Busch InBev will fully own Seattle-based Redhook Brewery — along with Portland’s Widmer Brothers Brewery, Hawaii’s Kona Brewing and other properties — in a mega deal estimated to be worth over $300 million. The details should be finalized in 2020.
Redhook has been a mainstay in the area for decades, earning a following for its IPAs, porters, and ales, after launching in a Ballard transmission shop in 1981. From those humble beginnings it became a craft beer pioneer in the city, steadily building a large imprint. But area beer fans have heard this story before. Just four years ago, the iconic Elysian Brewery (among the largest breweries in Washington state) sold out to Anheuser-Busch as well, and many are still grumbling about that deal. Reactions have been similarly cynical on social media regarding the Redhook news.
Redhook will be fully absorbed by the brewing industry giant it originally defied | The Seattle Times— Adam Myszewski (@AdamMyszewski) November 12, 2019
Sad to see. I remember going to the Woodinville brewery in ‘96 or so, and it was a beautiful setting.
Of course, this development may not come as a huge surprise to those who have followed Redhook’s path over the years. The seeds were planted in 1994, when the brewery sold a quarter of its company to the owner of Budweiser. In 2008, the Seattle brewery then merged with the publicly traded Portland-based Craft Brew Alliance that includes Widmer and Kona. AB InBev already owned a third of that company — and will soon swallow it whole by purchasing the remaining shares.
Redhook currently has a taproom and restaurant in Capitol Hill in the Pike Motorworks Building called the Redhook Brewlab. It remains to be seen whether the Brewlab and Redhook’s beer distribution will change significantly once the new deal is finalized. A rep for Redhook tells Eater that, at least in the near term, “it shouldn’t have much of an impact.”
- Anheuser-Busch to Buy Remaining Stake in Group That Owns Seattle’s Redhook Brewery [Puget Sound Business Journal]
- Redhook Will Be Fully Absorbed By the Brewing Industry Giant It Originally Defied [Seattle Times]
- Elysian Brewery Is About to Sell Its Soul to Anheuser-Busch [ESEA]
- All coverage of Redhook Brewlab [ESEA]