Elysian Confirms – Anheuser-Busch Rumor is True

UPDATED Sat, Jan 24: See all of the stories we’ve written about this, click here.

Breaking news – we don’t have all the details yet, but some rumors we caught wind of earlier this week are confirmed this morning in an email from Dick Cantwell, Brewmaster and Co-owner of Elysian Brewing Company.

“I’m free to tell you it’s true. Elysian is now part of ABI,” said Cantwell.

Dick goes on to say that right now he is concentrating on, “the opportunities it provides for our sales brand and our folks — education, experience, expansion.”

We hope to talk to Dick in the next few hours and will update this post as more information becomes available.

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  1. Good luck to them. I am trying to be very optimistic when I see news like this and that of 10 BBL. I hope ABI and others are smart enough to harness these great brands instead of absorbing. Fine line I know… but hey that is optimism right.

  2. I’m okay with this. Even if it does fundamentally change them their beers were never spectacular to begin with so it’s not a huge loss.

    1. If by never that spectacular you mean that people didn’t flood their social media with pictures of their Elysian hauls, follow delivery trucks around the city to find their beers and ship their left hands to strangers across the country for a bottle, then ya Elysian beers were never that spectacular. They’ve made awesome, often innovative and always available beers for a long time which is means a lot to some drinkers

  3. The problem, assuming they adhere to their usual business practices, is that AB will cut the price of their kegs to bars and restaurants making it more difficult for the other great local breweries to get their products in those same establishments.

  4. I don’t like this trend. I’m guessing we’ll see more of this as there will be a scramble by BigBeer Inc. to add revenue producing quality to their stables of crappy products. Has there been an example of a good “small” brewery maintaining or increasing the quality of their beers after buy-outs? Yeah, I’m sure we won’t see a change for a little while, but eventually, like in the case of any corporate infestation, the little guy suffers for the ‘good’ of the greater body.

    Resistance is Futile.

  5. Congrats! There is an article from the Puget Sound
    Business Journal in 2003 in regards to Pyramid trying to buy them out. Good decision to sell at the height of the craft boom. 254 WA BREWERIES! There is only so many patrons.

  6. The beer scene is a lot like the punk scene of my youth: no one is aloud to succeed (as that word is defined by the fans) without being a sellout.

  7. Non-craft Craft Brewers Guild starting up? Elysian, Founders, Goose Island, Widmer, Redhook, Blue Point, 10 Barrel, etc.

    Exactly why Spike only sold 24% so he could still remain “craft” rather than “crafty”.

    If you can’t beat ’em buy ’em.

  8. It’s good that he’s “concentrating on the opportunities it provides for our sales brand and our folks” rather than the hundreds (thousands?) of independent beer supporters, many of whom probably supported his brewery since its infancy, who are probably now angered that their money will be going into corporate pockets.

    “Corporate beer still sucks” … right?

  9. This isn’t the end of the world. Goose Is. is still making some great beer (mass produced 312 wheat isn’t my thing) and finally we are starting to get some BCBS out here. Dick’s worked hard for a long time and this is probably a decent business decision for him.

  10. I’m sure everything will be just fine as production of their flagship beers are outsourced to Milwaukee to cut costs and the tag on Loser Pale Ale is changed to: “Corporate Beer Rules!”

    Support your local nano brewery.

  11. What does local ownership mean to a brewery and beer community? We will find out. It’s always been gratifying to know that the money spent to purchase beer from a locally owned brewery goes right back into the pockets of people in the community…our community. It’s not easy for small & medium sized breweries to survive in the long run and it will be much harder if the big guys flood the market with inexpensive beer (like has already happened with Goose Island IPA). Yet the effort is so worth it because it’s still so fun to be part of a local beer scene. Congratulations and good luck to Elysian for making this move. But why do it?

  12. Redhook is not owned by inbev. They are a publicly traded stock. Sure they have a stake in them bit totally different than goose, 10 barrel, and now elysian

  13. Soooo- Those of us who slaved in the fetid, stinking kitchens and boiler rooms of the Lesion in good faith and nothing but beer tokens for tips – NOW discover we gave weeks of our lives only to have it all go to the biggest supporter and contributor to alcoholism, union busting and early adolescent obesity in America (look it up) makes me bloody thirsty. To think we supported the ambitions of these three sicko snake oil peddlers of the aforementioned beer company brings me to the conclusion that the scarred kitchen slave musicians of which I was counted (at times) among their ranks will soon need file class-action suit to cover expenses certainly to accrue for dialysis treatment, liver transplants (or trades) clinically attributed to forced drinking of Elysian’s so-called award winning strong beers: AK-47, IPA, and other flavored toxins served liberally to innocent bands like SAINT BUSHMILL’s CHOIR, Reggie Watt, The Assbandit Dubstep Halloween Band, TAD, hippy bands and “singer songwriters” and their ilk who made that slop house what it was.
    Mr. Ben London said it best when on January 2015 he wrote for the respected peer reviewed daily, Facebook.com, ” We deserve a cut!”
    Well Mr. London you are correct. And you will need it, Sir.
    Dave, Joe and Brewmeister, I hope you are satisfied. You pleased your little investors and hopefully made more money than Sub Pop when they sold their Nirvana properties to the Sadam Beelzebub before you. I shoulda ordered Budlight or a bug-light instead of that barleywine crap.
    Cheers Rich Boyos,
    J.S. O’Moriarty,

  14. This is disgusting. Anheuser-Busch sold out to Inbev in 2008 and immediately laid off 1,400 employees and 415 contractors. All profits from their crappy products now go overseas. I thought Elysian beers were great, so sad to see them sold to overseas corporate raiders. See the Post-Aquisition section of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anheuser-Busch/.

  15. This makes me sad. AB InBev, SABMiller, and Molson Coors already own 90 percent of the market. Check out the movie “Beer Wars”. Think you’re buying a foreign beer at the market? Think again. Almost everything you see on the shelves is owned by one of these companies. They do a great job of furthering their monopolies by squeezing out the little guys and making “envelop pushing” breweries that they’ve bought mediocre – in order to appeal to the masses. They’ve been stifling their competition, or buying them out since the 90’s. Too bad. I liked Elysian. Moving on to the independent hold-outs.

  16. BOYCOTT!!! Make your money talk.
    I will be telling all my customers to buy something else local.
    There are plenty of other excellent local choices.

  17. Very sad. I’m done. It seems like there are more and more beers that I stop drinking each year. I pray my local brew never sells.

  18. It’s the same thing as 10 barrel, brewery is on a phenomenal growth pattern, has multiple retail locations, ABI will push distribution to max out capacity at the current location , then the’ll start making flagships in Los Angeles but still say it’s made in Seattle. It’s a big check in the hard working owners pocket at Elysian, I get it, most people would probably take the money. Elysian did a lot for the Seattle craft beer community but in my mind selling out to ABI is damaging the same community you worked so hard to build. What I don’t understand is why the owners are staying on board. You got the money, let the corporate giant do it’s thing.

  19. Kyle – My assumption is that the owners are staying on as part of the transition team. Common practice in any corporate merger. “Here’s where we keep the brew logs, this is our vehicle fleet and maintenance records, this is the person you should keep, here are 10 you can fire…” that kind of thing.

  20. Some ppl hate A-B because they made billions off an insipid contortion of the pilsner style. Never doubt that they could make great tasting beer in those huge tanks if they felt like it. Other ppl hate AB/Inbev just because they’re big and global. Can’t help that. If you want to drink a business model, stick with employee-owned breweries like Full Sail or Harpoon. Any incorporated business with just a few owners (a) has to want to make a profit and (b) has to be able to be sold when those owners want to move on to something else.
    Now, the Goose Island deal was interesting in that AB bought the brands and the right to make those brands, like 312 and Sofie, in their big breweries. The Goose Island guys kept their original gear and the right to make their own new brews,just had to limit sales to their taproom. That may or may not be how it works for 10BBL or Elysian. If the big plant in Fairfield, CA is not very busy because folks are not buying as much Bud Light (cheers to that!) then perhaps they may make some flagship IPA down there. But it sounds like Elysian’s people can keep on doing what they’ve been doing in down in Georgetown and selling their new concoctions in a way the Goose Isl.guys can’t. Let’s see

  21. Their beer may retain the same level of quality and originality, but every time you buy Elysian beer from here on out your money is going to support AB and their business of absorbing as many independent breweries as possible to gain market share.

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