Craft Beer Seeks $213 Billion to Buy AB InBev

The Brewers Association launches the largest stunt crowdfunding campaign ever.

By Ethan L. Johns
October 17, 2017

Image: Brewers Association

In a cheeky awareness campaign, the Brewers Association announced on Monday that they are taking on Big Beer in a daring way: by crowdfunding enough money to buy Anheuser-Busch InBev.

AB InBev, the Belgium-based conglomerate that owns almost every beer you can think of, is the largest beer company in the world. It is valued at $213 billion, so the Brewer’s Association’s plan—called “Take Craft Back”—is a longshot. As they state on their website, “It only seems impossible if you really think about it.” The site allows craft beer lovers to pledge $10, $50, $100 or $1,000 to support the cause, making pledgers check a box that reads, “I agree that we'll be in touch if somehow, miraculously, against every odd, the $213 billion crowdfunding goal is reached. (We don't expect to be in touch.) No credit card needed. We trust you're 21 or over.”

The association knows that it will never actually be able to buy AB InBev, and that’s not the point of the stunt. Instead, what you’re looking at is David throwing stones at Goliath and screaming out in an attempt to attract the attention of the public. Their battle cry? Don’t be fooled by Big Beer hitting you with huge advertising budgets, giving you the illusion of choice by telling you that they are “craft.”

It is true that AB InBev is snapping up small breweries left and right. The giant’s portfolio includes Goose Island (purchased in 2011), Blue Point Brewing (purchased in 2014) as well as the recently acquired Wicked Weed. In launching the “Take Craft Back” campaign, the Brewers Association is spreading awareness for the label, pictured above, that identifies “real, independent craft beer.”

With many Americans idealizing local foods and spirits, the campaign is bound to excite some who believe in spending their beer dollars close to home. At the time of this writing, 5,863 “independent beer backers” have “pledged” a total of $1,870,000—meaningless in terms of their absurdist goal to buy a $213 billion company.

Not meaningless, though, in their attempt to educate consumers on their definition of “craft” as independently crafted beer. Maybe in doing so they’ll also remind America-first beer drinkers that Budweiser, the world’s most valuable beer brand that re-named itself “America” in 2016, is now owned by a Belgian company.

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About Ethan L. Johns

Ethan is the Food News Writer at Genius Kitchen. An expert on the Parisian bistrot, he likes bitters and salted butters, and is no fan of dessert unless it's made with fruit. His hobbies include reading up on the history of borscht and attempting to roll perfect couscous by hand. Twits & Instagram @EthanLJohns