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 Message Boards » » Wicked Weed sells out to AB INBEV Page [1] 2 3, Next  
KeB
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Sad day for the NC Craft Beer scene....

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2017/05/03/wicked-weed-brewing-anheuser-busch-partnership/309733001/

5/3/2017 2:20:45 PM

wdprice3
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I understand the business decision.

But I don't like selling out to a company that is determined to either 1) kill / limit microbreweries via legislation / regulation 2) buy up the stronger survivors and rape their profits.

5/3/2017 2:35:07 PM

TKE-Teg
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^agreed

5/3/2017 2:40:45 PM

thegoodlife3
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you can blame the NCGA for this

and every other awful thing

5/3/2017 2:51:58 PM

KeB
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^^^Yeah a lot of people don't know the behind the scenes business practices of AB INBEV

Long story short if you were a bar owner that wanted to carry Bud Light on tap then AB is going to make you basically give them X number of taps to carry other beers from their portfolio. I've seen/heard them want as many as 8 out of 10 ten taps. This in turn pushes other craft beer off of the taps at your local bar.

[Edited on May 3, 2017 at 2:57 PM. Reason : .]

5/3/2017 2:56:52 PM

ViolentMAW
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Time to try Burial on my next trip. Man, I loved The Funkatorium. Plenty other places to drink though. I've been drinking mostly Sierra Nevada these days because of the price anyways. Please don't sell.

5/3/2017 3:04:12 PM

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Ugh, that explains the shit beer selection at some bars. Does that come down to the owner getting the best deal he can by giving them the most taps, or are they just lazy or bad at negotiating?

5/3/2017 3:04:55 PM

thegoodlife3
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you can skirt that by not putting Bud/Bud Light on tap and just carrying it in bottles

I can't really think of any local bars with shitty tap selection

5/3/2017 3:10:28 PM

Nighthawk
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^^^^^I guess the NCGA is also at fault for Devils Backbone in VA selling out to InBev last year?

This is happening more and more. Guess InBev and others are flexing their fiscal muscles since they can't compete with them on product alone. To be honest many of the midsize breweries are going "corporate" now. Ballast Point, Devils Backbone, Lagunitas, Goose Island, Magic Hat, Redhook and even Terrapin are all owned whole or in part by the big breweries. Good luck finding beer at the grocery stores in the craft brew section that isn't owned wholly or in part by some other major corporation.

I hate the way that the bigs try to legislate their competition out. But on the flip side I do like that the big brewers often make their craft breweries beer accessible to a far larger market then they were before being bought out. And while their might be some validity to the current legislation hamstringing NC brewers, I doubt that law was the make or break for this deal between InBev and Wicked Weed.

[Edited on May 3, 2017 at 3:21 PM. Reason : ]

5/3/2017 3:21:31 PM

thegoodlife3
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Quote :
"Good luck finding beer at the grocery stores in the craft brew section that isn't owned wholly or in part by some other major corporation."


there are still plenty, and you don't even have to buy beer at a grocery store

this is why bottle shops are thriving

5/3/2017 3:32:42 PM

Doss2k
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It is like most things, get offered enough money and pride will lose every time.

5/3/2017 3:36:21 PM

ViolentMAW
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^^^ Wicked Weed is different though because it was the most high profile North Carolina brewery so it hurts more to me. Lagunitas being half owned by Heineken is something I can deal with.

5/3/2017 3:42:06 PM

Nighthawk
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^^I realize this, and that is why I said grocery stores. I frequent a couple of bottle shops, but Joe Blow popping into Food Lion or Harris Teeter might be surprised to realize a lot of that craft beer is really owned by the corporate overlords just like Bud Light.

5/3/2017 3:45:37 PM

jbrick83
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Quote :
"you can blame the NCGA for this

and every other awful thing"


Not really. They were always going to sell out. Their investors weren't beer guys...they were in it for the money.


But hey...now I will be able to get Wicked Weed in South Carolina!! Only to not want to buy it...

5/3/2017 3:46:10 PM

thegoodlife3
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they hit a level that didn't allow them to produce more beer, even though there is obvious demand

this deal allows them to produce more beer

[Edited on May 3, 2017 at 3:50 PM. Reason : .]

5/3/2017 3:49:15 PM

justinh524
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Quote :
"there are still plenty, and you don't even have to buy beer at a grocery store

this is why bottle shops are thriving"


Yeah, because I want to drive an hour to go buy beer.

5/3/2017 3:51:18 PM

thegoodlife3
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did I say that that's the only way to purchase craft beer?

5/3/2017 3:53:20 PM

jbrick83
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Quote :
"they hit a level that didn't allow them to produce more beer, even though there is obvious demand

this deal allows them to produce more beer"


They hit a level to get them the most attractive offer from a major beer producer. The people who owned the majority percentage of Wicked Weed always intended to sell-out to the biggest buyer.

5/3/2017 3:58:00 PM

ViolentMAW
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Yea, this certainly made me realize this family comes from money and will now have even more. I always assumed they had some money in the bank previously to build that nice ass brewery next to The Orange Peel but never really dug into it.

5/3/2017 4:10:10 PM

thegoodlife3
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^^ do you personally know an investor to know that for sure?

[Edited on May 3, 2017 at 4:16 PM. Reason : forgot about them already being partners with a distributor ]

5/3/2017 4:11:00 PM

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Quote :
"Yeah, because I want to drive an hour to go buy beer"


Hey, you're the one who chose to live an hour away from civilization.

5/3/2017 4:21:49 PM

Nighthawk
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True, but he has a point. When I lived in eastern NC the grocery store was my only choice for craft beer, and even then it was primarily stuff like Magic Hat and one or two others. I am glad that grocery chains are realizing that there is a market for these kinds of beer even in podunk places like Scotland Neck, NC. Now I live five minutes from Beer Study but sometimes I just want to pick up something at the Food Lion one minute from my house and with an actual parking lot.

5/3/2017 4:33:44 PM

thegoodlife3
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which Beer Study?

the OG or the new one?

5/3/2017 4:41:50 PM

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Quote :
"I just want to pick up something at the Food Lion one minute from my house"


What are they missing? Mine has a pretty decent beer section imo

5/3/2017 5:03:07 PM

Money_Jones
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The food lion closest to my house (at 40-42) has a fucking incredible beer selection, better than any other grocery I know of, rivaling some smaller bottle shops

[Edited on May 3, 2017 at 5:25 PM. Reason : $$$]

5/3/2017 5:25:32 PM

thegoodlife3
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as far as beer selection goes, Lowe's > Teeter > Food Lion

this doesn't mean that it's always the case, but it usually is

5/3/2017 5:34:34 PM

Money_Jones
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^oh for sure, in general id agree with that, the selection at this food lion location took me completely by surprise, but I love it.

5/3/2017 5:45:38 PM

dmspack
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^^^ you must live pretty near me. i never go to that Food Lion anymore since they built the one up at mcgee's crossroads. but....they just started selling beer at that one last year because of the dated laws around here. may have to check out the 42 Food Lion if the beer selection is that good.

the Lowe's Food up at 50/42 has really good selection

[Edited on May 3, 2017 at 6:28 PM. Reason : f]

5/3/2017 6:27:18 PM

thegoodlife3
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funny you mention that

went there with my dad on our way to a cookout near that Food Lion when I was a kid

my dad didn't know about that law and was absolutely pissed when he couldn't buy beer for the cookout there

20+ years later, he now lives off of 42

[Edited on May 3, 2017 at 6:43 PM. Reason : .]

5/3/2017 6:39:32 PM

Nighthawk
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Quote :
"which Beer Study?

the OG or the new one?"


OG son. Reppin' west side of Carrboro son!

Carrboro Plaza Food Dawg has a pretty good selection of beer. They don't have a lot of the really special beer selections, and you can't try before you buy, so when I'm feeling that I go to Beer Study, Al's and the Baxter. Really good combo.

5/3/2017 6:56:35 PM

thegoodlife3
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my girlfriend lives next to the Teeter and their selection, for a Teeter, is pretty meh

lots of good spots for a delicious beer in the Paris of the Piedmont

5/3/2017 7:08:11 PM

dmspack
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^^^ yep. Living <5 miles from there i have stopped there multiple times before an event thinking I'll just grab some beer and I'd always forget they didn't sell it. I think it's been less than a year since they've been selling beer. And to my knowledge they haven't changed the law, they just remodeled a bit so that they now have the proper seating and set up to sell.

5/3/2017 8:24:33 PM

rwoody
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"Wicked Weed is different though because it was the most high profile North Carolina brewery so it hurts more to me"


Is Highland still independent? Couldnt find out on Google. I live in Florida and i see Highland semi-regularly, I've never seen WW.

edit: i havent lived in NC in a decade but i've heard of 3-4 breweries on this list more than WW (not counting New Belgium and Sierra Nevada, obv)
https://ncbeer.org/our-breweries/

[Edited on May 3, 2017 at 9:25 PM. Reason : aa]

5/3/2017 9:19:04 PM

wdprice3
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Quote :
"Wicked Weed is different though because it was the most high profile North Carolina brewery so it hurts more to me. "


Eh, really? By what measure? I can name probably 10 or so NC breweries before I even think of WW.

5/4/2017 7:28:53 AM

TerdFerguson
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WW beers were also pretty good, but hardly my favorites. I can think of several breweries higher on my list to visit in AVL than WW. Partly because WW is ALWAYS slammed out the wazoo every time I've tried to go. The funkatorium, however, was kinda special. I'm not really a fan of sours, but was always pretty amazed by the breadth of flavors a flight of their sours could run, and that I could generally find one I liked enough to keep drinking it. So I really hope the funkatorium sticks around in some form.

5/4/2017 7:40:07 AM

Nighthawk
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^One of my coworkers was equally devastated but I was equally perplexed. I like Wicked Weed but its not my number one NC brewery by any stretch.

5/4/2017 7:47:06 AM

LudaChris
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I think Wicked Weed was just the "name" that everyone associated with NC craft brewing, but I rarely found them to be in my top 5 "must visits" when I was in Asheville. I mean when I see new beer locally from places like Burial or Highland I buy it regardless just to try it, I never feel that way with WW.

Now if I loved sours I'm sure they'd be my #1 as I've had a few sours at the Funkatorium and in bottles that I liked, but ultimately never cared too much for the style so WW never ranked super high for me. I'm curious what this means for their "new beers" and availability locally of some of their annual releases. I will be a little bummed, as will my wife, if I can't get some Milk and Cookies and French Toast stouts next Winter.

5/4/2017 8:47:12 AM

JP
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^^^^^man, that list in that link is incomplete. I can name at least 2 others in WNC if you click that category.

5/4/2017 9:00:54 AM

TKE-Teg
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Quote :
"^^^ Wicked Weed is different though because it was the most high profile North Carolina brewery so it hurts more to me. "


Is it though? I can't even name a beer that Wicked Weed produces, though that may be because it seems pretty rare that I find something by them (distributed to Raleigh) that I like. Hell, it took well over a year for me to even realize Wicked Weed was a NC brewery. I would consider Olde Mecklenberg, Highland, Natty Greene's, Red Oak, Aviator, Big Boss and Lonerider to be more well known as NC breweries (though the list may be somewhat biased by where I live).


AFAIK Highland is still independent.

5/4/2017 9:14:30 AM

JP
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Foothills too

5/4/2017 9:18:34 AM

TerdFerguson
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The name Wicked Weed coupled with the hop emblem is pretty damn good marketing, IMO. Recognizable and catchy and a dog whistle to folks that love hopped out slap you in the face beer styles. That and winning a few beer awards and didn't they have a sour competition that they sponsored on several occasions (or am I misremembering?). All these contributed to their profile and AB might be buying them almost strictly for their name and emblem.

5/4/2017 9:38:11 AM

ncsuallday
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If it lowers the price of their beers without sacrificing quality, makes it more widely distributed, and makes it available in larger quantities (six packs, twelve packs, cases, etc.) then I'm all for it.

Sour beers are my favorite by a mile and they're one of the fastest growing trends in beer but they're also really expensive, so if AB InBev is trying to get into that market, Wicked Weed makes perfect sense. They have a huge repertoire of different brews, brand recognition, and they already have a pretty solid infrastructure that could probably be tweaked to start producing at a much higher volume.

I love the Funkatorium and all but I don't have some crazy loyalty to their brand as a beer drinker or a North Carolinian. If they sell, good for them - I'm sure the owners feel like they just hit the damn lotto. The contract will probably pay the key people handsomely to stick around and continue overseeing everything.

And before we go and canonize Wicked Weed, let's remember that they're currently selling pints of their sours for $15 a piece. I understand it costs more to make, age, opportunity costs, etc. but that's still fairly high in the world of sours. Even boutique breweries like Haw River Farmhouse Ales or Fonta Flora don't charge that - they at least give you a 750ml bottle (50% more than a pint at 24oz.)

I've tried pretty much everything they've put out that's come through Raleigh and I stopped going out of my way to try them because aside from a few notable beers (Medora for one), all of their sours end up tasting pretty much indistinguishable even though they mix in every fruit and berry under the sun. Seriously, Tasty or State of Beer probably have close to a dozen and a half styles of Wicked Weed sours or sitting on their shelves. It just got to feel like something that was small batch and special to something that was supposedly small batch but gimmicky.

Regardless, their beer is still good so if InBev turns those $15 pints into something more manageable this could be a good thing for the consumer.

5/4/2017 9:40:51 AM

thegoodlife3
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^^^^ Wicked Weed is waaaaay more well known to beer drinkers than those

State of Beer alone usually carries 10-12 different beers from Wicked Weed at all times and a good chunk of downtown bars have a rotating Wicked Weed tap

[Edited on May 4, 2017 at 9:41 AM. Reason : .]

5/4/2017 9:40:54 AM

rwoody
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^I don't think you have any evidence for that claim, and multiple "beer drinkers" in this thread have said otherwise.

Hard to say they are most well known if they can't even reach Florida

5/4/2017 9:53:12 AM

Bullet
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well, there's "beer drinkers", and then there's "beer drinkers", and then there's "beer drinkers". Most of the people in this thread are just "beer drinkers".

5/4/2017 9:56:29 AM

ncsuallday
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Wicked Weed is definitely more widely known/respected in beer snob circles. If you're trying to trade for rare beers on forums, pretty much the main thing people want from NC is Foothills Sexual Chocolate though for the most part.

Highland might have more regional / grocery store brand recognition for filthy casuals because of Gaelic Ale or whatever just because they got out in front early.

5/4/2017 10:00:02 AM

LudaChris
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Well it depends on what your classifications are for "most popular beer made in NC".

If you're talking about geographical footprint, then of course WW isn't going to be popular in FL, they don't distribute there. Hell I think they just announced in the last year they were branching out into Georgia. I would imagine in a year or so they would eventually get to FL, but now they'll get there much faster.

If you ask NC people, you'll get a mixed bag. I'd say most of the craft beer drinkers in NC know of WW, but I also feel like it's just a "trendy" name in NC and the craft beer scene. Like when you hear about people going to Asheville to check out some breweries, WW is usually one of the 3 most common ones mentioned(Sierra Nevada is probably #1 because of the beer mecca they've built, absolutely amazing venue). For reference I know someone who is a big cheap beer drinker and he knew about WW before but I had to introduce him to Red Oak and he's from NC.

Hopefully this lets WW do their normal thing and just create more production and a bigger geographic footprint without lowering the quality of their beer. Though I agree, they definitely need to be cheaper. They have to be one of the more consistently over-priced beers in NC and I just can't imagine them doing well if they continue to roll out beers priced that high.

5/4/2017 10:07:44 AM

jbrick83
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They're very popular/trendy in the craft beer/beer snob circle because their sour program was top-notch right at the time sours became crazy popular. They were way ahead of the game in that regard and it got them a ton of notoriety. They've also put out some other noteworthy beers that people chase...but their sours put them on the map. Most beer "enthusiasts" would put them as one of North Carolinas top 3-5 breweries...with many saying they are the best. But whatever...that's subjective.

But fuck them...they're sell-outs. AB-InBev uses shitty practices to push other craft breweries off shelves and I won't support them. There have been some other big/popular brewery takeovers by big beverage companies...but this is easily been the biggest one by AB-InBev since this shit started getting big negative back-lash*. It should be interesting to see how it all pans out.




* Goose Island acquisition pissed people off, but it was a while ago and people weren't as knowledgeable about AB-InBev's shelf-take-over practices.

Ballast Point was big...but not AB-InBev.

5/4/2017 10:21:12 AM

thegoodlife3
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"^I don't think you have any evidence for that claim, and multiple "beer drinkers" in this thread have said otherwise.

Hard to say they are most well known if they can't even reach Florida"


I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the USA Today doesn't run a story on InBev buying Red Oak, Highland, Natty Greenes, etc...

5/4/2017 10:22:12 AM

ncsuallday
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I'd say the top five breweries in NC (again, I heavily prefer sours) are:

1. Fonta Flora, Moganton NC - hands down the best, most creative beer in the state.

2. Wicked Weed, Asheville NC - I'm going by sheer quality/variety here if I were to sit down and drink at Funkatorium all day, I'd have a lot to choose from.

3. The Sour Barn, Wilmington, NC - Really up and coming - excellent sours and a good variety.

4. Steel String, Carrboro NC - They've been putting out some great stuff and are upping their sour program (Poor Laurie was amazing, all NC grain aged in Sauvignon Blanc barrels)

5. Bond Brothers, Cary NC - their kettle sours may be controversial to sour purists but I love them and I love what they're doing with lactose to make their beers creamier.

I also have to mention Haw River Farmhouse Ales and Deep River among my favorites but not really for sours specifically.

5/4/2017 10:38:55 AM

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