Ho-Hum, Anheuser-Busch Acquires Another Brewery

You’re probably getting sick of hearing this, and I’m getting sick of saying it, but another brewery has been assimilated by the AB-InBev Beer Borg. Does anyone even care anymore? This time, it’s a five year-old brewery in London, England. The fact that it’s not even an American brewery makes it even less relevant, right?

What I find interesting about this particular acquisition is that Camden Town Brewery recently completed a crowd-funding campaign to help fuel its growth. It was no small amount of money they raised using Crowd Cube (yet another crowd funding platform). The company raised 2.7 million GBP. That’s over $4 million US dollars.

On the Crowd Cube page, Camden Town Brewery pitched its case like this:

Camden Town Brewery is one of London’s biggest breweries. They’ve come a long way these past few years, growing their annual revenues by 10x from £900k to circa £9m in just three years. Now, Camden are building a brand new custom built brewery to help them keep up with demand and bring the taste of Camden Lager to the world.

And then today the brewery announced that it sold the whole show to Anheuser-Busch. Like every other brewery to do it, Camden Town Brewery is calling it a “partnership.”

I will not claim to know the ins and out of Crowd Cube. It seems to be more of an investment platform than other platforms like Kickstarter, where your contribution seems to be more like a gift than an investment. So to some extent, I suppose they’d already sold themselves for 2,750,860 GBP. Now they have some explaining to do. And I’d assume some some payouts to make to all those investors. That’s all private information, though, so I don’t know.

You have to wonder, would Camden Town Brewery have gone to the trouble of running a crowd funding campaign, bringing in a whole bunch of small investors, if they’d know the world’s largest beer company was about to come calling?

Here is Camden Town Brewery’s statement about the acquisition:

Camden Town Brewery today announced that it is partnering with Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) to pave the way for further growth and expansion. The partnership will enable Camden Town Brewery to expand its operations, bringing more of its popular canned, bottled and kegged beer to more people. The deal will see AB InBev acquire Camden Town Brewery.

Founded by Jasper Cuppaidge, the owner of The Horseshoe pub in Hampstead, Camden Town Brewery started full production in 2010. From an original staff of three people, it now employs a team of 95 and has sold 12 million pints in 2015. Their beers are available in over 1000 pubs, bars, restaurants and retailers around the UK, as well as further afield in Sweden, Australia and Japan.

The deal follows a successful bid by Camden Town Brewery to raise capital via crowd funding and will support the company’s plan to build a second brewery in London, employing 30 more people and meeting growing demand for its products. The partnership will enable Camden Town Brewery to brew more of its own distinctive beers and continue to innovate, while maintaining its focus on quality.

Jasper Cuppaidge said: “Our growth has been phenomenal. To keep up with the demand for our distinctive beers we’ve had to look at expanding our brewing capacity and team. AB InBev is going to be our strategic partner, helping us maintain the character and quality of our beers, while giving us access to the investment we need to drive Camden to being ever more successful at home and abroad.

“Opportunities like this come rarely. We believe we must have the ambition to grab this opportunity and turn Camden Town Brewery, and the quality it stands for, from being an outstanding London brewer to being a world famous one.”

Iain Newell, European Director of Specialities & Craft, AB InBev, said: “We have a passion for great beer. Camden Town is a creative business with a great range of brands that will complement our existing portfolio. We will support their ambitious plans for the future, using our expertise and global distribution network to help them get their great beer to more people.”

The deal is expected to close by 7th January 2016, following which Camden Town Brewery will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of AB InBev. Terms of the agreement are not being disclosed.

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