AB Inbev’s purchase of Wicked Weed doesn’t make much sense to me. It’s a bit like politicians who don’t know their audience and fail to understand the need of the general public. Wicked Weed are a great brewery producing fantastic sour and mixed fermentation beers being sold usually between £15-£20 a pop for 500ml. Your mainstream beer drinker isn’t paying that for beer during the weekly shop whereas someone more engrossed in the craft beer bubble is; someone who is more likely to stick two fingers up at a beer brewed by an AB Inbev owned brewery. So they’ve lost what; 75% of the original market already by the amount of tweets and comments?
Now, overtime, the quality and price of Wicked Weed beers decrease as costings are squeezed by competitive market. Mass production, low-cost and more shelf space create a new market as the mainstream beer drinker can now get Wicked Weed in their local supermarket. They are now drawn into seeking out new, independent craft beers, exciting beers away from the norm of pale ales and porters; hitting the local bottle shop instead of the supermarket. Wicked Weed beers become a gateway drug into a culture of independent craft beer.
“Wicked Weed do ok beers but there is a great independent brewery brewing even better ones. You pay a little more but they are so much better”
And Wicked Weed will be replaced. A new brewery will emerge as the brew team disband or an established brewery already sat in Wicked Weed’s shadow will rise up and take their place.
It’s easy to get drawn in the the furore of big beer acquisitions but is it worth getting all worked up about?
Note: I am fully aware that the american craft beer scene is significantly different to UK beer culture and I would assume AB Inbev employ some pretty clued up individuals in their acquisitions team. This is just my rambling opinion on something that in the grand scheme of things, is quite insignificant