Chicago and New York. Oregon and Washington. Where will ABInBev and their acquisition machine next turn their gaze?
It could make for a fun parlor game. It has come to light that ABInBev contacted Cigar City Brewing of Florida, so it seems that the Southeast is in play. But the safe money has it that Colorado and California are probably in the crosshairs. Due to geography and amount of breweries that will fit their mysterious purpose.
The Belgian purveyor of watery corn lager seems to be going after established breweries of a certain size that also have restaurant locations as well. If that trend holds, ABInBev could very well target L.A. area breweries like Golden Road Brewing. Especially considering their distribution ties. Whether that is even a consideration for the L.A. / Anaheim brewery is a different story altogether.
Another potential candidate for acquisition is Hangar 24 Craft Brewery. They don’t have the food aspect of the equation, but they are a rapidly growing brewery with a killer flagship beer, Orange Wheat, in both cans and bottles. Also in this category might be The Dudes’ Brewing in Torrance who have gained a following for their 16-ounce cans.
There are other possibilities out there, but since the L.A. culture is still nascent, none are really at a size for it. Others California breweries are too big, like Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Stone Brewing Co., Green Flash Brewing Company and (maybe) Figueroa Mountain.
While size seems to be an important factor, the bigger elephant in the room is who would take the call and who would laugh it off. I can’t imagine there are many who would seriously entertain the thought now.
The Beer of the Week is 101 out of 100. Actually, it is an homage to the freeway that runs by the Buellton brewery of Figueroa Mountain Brewing. And it is canned and ready for a hiking or beach adventure off the freeway. The Kolsch inside is light, but as opposed to ABInBev, it is full of flavor, particularly in the malt bill.
Your Homework is to listen. If you are already heading up the 101, you might as well aim your smartphone to the Brewing Network Session podcast. To be even more specific, two episodes featuring L.A. breweries. You can access via iTunes or the Brewing Network website to hear background about MacLeod Ale Brewing Co. and Three Weavers. Then scan the list and see if any of your other favorite breweries have been featured. You will appreciate their beers even more after hearing their stories.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.