Breckenridge Brewery -- whose grassroots advertising has poked fun at the marketing tactics of big brewers -- is about to be absorbed by one of the big guys. Anheuser-Busch InBev announced today plans to acquire the Colorado-based brewery, continuing a craft beer buying spree.
Breckenridge, whose beers include Agave Wheat and Avalanche Ale, is available in 35 states and will become the seventh craft brewer to join A-B InBev's "high-end" division. The parties did not disclose terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016.
"Breckenridge Brewery has a long history of innovation and they continue to brew new and exciting beers, from their specialty brews like the Mountain Series that celebrates the brewery's origin as a ski town brewpub, to their planned nitro can series," Andy Goeler, the CEO of craft at A-B InBev's High End division, said in a statement. "They are innovative and have built an amazing business that's enabled them to get their great beers to fans across the country. We look forward to even more growth together."
Todd Usry, president of Breckenridge Brewery, stated that "I'm a believer in what The High End is focused on accomplishing and we are flattered that our team was chosen to help guide that journey."
The deal follows news last week that A-B InBev is acquiring Four Peaks Brewing Co., the largest craft brewer in Arizona. Other U.S. craft brewers acquired by A-B InBev in recent years include Goose Island, Blue Point, 10 Barrel Brewing, Elysian and Golden Road. In a global deal announced Monday, A-B InBev announced it was acquiring Camden Town Brewery of London.
The growth of smaller craft brands has also fueled acquisitions by other big brewers this year, including a move by MillerCoors earlier this year to take a majority interest in San Diego-based Saint Archer Brewing Co.
Breckenridge in recent years has poured some of its slim ad budget into campaigns that take subtle shots at the marketing gimmicks deployed by big brewers. In 2011, for instance, Breckenridge poked fun at packaging technologies used by big brands like Coors Light and Bud Light that indicate when the beer inside is cold.
In one ad, Breckenridge offered up its "proprietary cold test," which simply consisted of its head brewer touching a bottle of Summerbright Ale and deadpanning: "It's cold." Another spot plugged Avalanche Ale's "gravity activated pouring" bottles: "When you tip it, beer goes straight in your mouth. When you tip it back, the beer stops flowing."
The "Truth in Beervertising" parody campaign has also included ads making fun of Dos Equis' "Most Interesting Man in the World." Breckenridge's version features the "The Least Interesting Man in the World."
Corona has also been in the brewer's crosshairs with a spot called "Find Your Couch" that mocked the Mexican import's "Find Your Beach" campaign.