The sale has caused a much more public rift in the beer community than other buyouts.
Fans of Wicked Weed beer may have mixed feelings about the Ashville, North Carolina brewery’s decision to sell to Anheuser-Busch InBev, but plenty of other craft breweries are already letting their opinions be known: At least 49 of them have pulled out of Wicked Weed’s annual Funkatorium Invitational beer event set to be held on July 8, according to beer blog Tenemu.
Though it’s no secret that official “craft breweries” as defined by the industry trade group the Brewers Association aren’t fans of many of Anheuser-Busch InBev’s business practices, the craft industry is apparently using the Funkatorium Invitational event to send a clear message that joining the ranks of AB InBev can get you ostracized from the community. Tenemu has been attempting to independently confirm which breweries are still planning on attending Wicked Weed’s event, and though 23 breweries’ responses are still up in the air, only one has confirmed it still plans on attending: Grand Rapid, Michigan’s Brewery Vivant.
As of May 4, Wicked Weed stated that the event would go on as planned. Worth noting is that of the 23 breweries who are still up in the air, a couple of them – 10 Barrel and Goose Island – are also owned by AB InBev. Meanwhile, some of the others aren’t entirely independent. Still, it’ll be hard to put together an entire beer festival with just a handful of the previously expected 70-plus breweries agreeing to show. Adding insult to injury, Springdale by Jack’s Abbey Brewing in Framingham, Massachusetts, even announced on its website that it would be willing to hold its own event for any breweries dropping out of Wicked Weed’s fest.
Regardless of the outcome, there is one real loser in all of this: Asheville’s Eblen Charities, a local non-profit focused on helping needy families with medical and emergency assistance. It is the beneficiary of 100 percent of the profits from the Funkatorium Invitational. And with the situation seeming a little tenuous at the moment, those profits are in doubt.