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Anheuser-Busch Plans to Fully Own Another One of Seattle’s Original Beer Pioneers

Budweiser’s parent company is ready to officially take over Redhook Brewery, just a few years after buying Elysian

A glass full of Redhook’s ESB amber ale on a wooden bar.
Redhook started its operations back in 1981.
Courtesy of Redhook

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.

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.”

Redhook Brewlab

714 E. Pike, Seattle, WA 98122

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