Sector News

AB InBev snaps up Italian craft brewer

April 25, 2016
Food & Drink

AB InBev has confirmed its acquisition of Italian craft brewer Birra del Borgo as it works to capture the Italian craft beer market.

Under the terms of the transactions, Birra del Borgo will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of AB InBev, a deal which it says will allow it to invest in expanding its brewery and “independently manage its business and define how to grow”.

Founder Leonardo Di Vincenzo will continue to lead Birra Del Borgo, one of the leading craft brewers in Italy, as CEO of the company.

“Our voyage since we started in 2005 has been a great adventure,” said Vincenzo. “Today the beer sector has become very competitive and it necessary for us to make a next step to ensure that we can continue to evolve in terms of brewing techniques and in terms of the complexity and taste variation we can offer to consumers. We believe partnering with AB InBev is a great opportunity to do exactly that: it will allow Birra del Borgo to grow in a sustainable way while staying true to our unique identity and the philosophy that we have followed since the very beginning.”

The brewery is based in Borgorose, a small town in the province of Rieti on the border between Lazio and Abruzzo. Vincenzo started brewing beer at home for enjoyment while at University studying biochemistry, deciding later to set up Birra del Borgo. It currently produces ten beers including ReAle, Duchessa and DucAle.

“We have been very impressed by what Leonardo and his team have built since 2005,” said Simon Wuestenberg, country director for AB InBev Italia. ” They have been at the forefront of redefining beer in Italy, bringing a unique mix of inspired innovation, quality and consistency. Leonardo’s vision for beer and his passion for brewing will be great inspirations to our whole team, and we’re very excited about partnering up and growing together.”

Birra del Borgo is not the first craft brewer to be targeted by AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer. In December of last year London-based craft brewer Camden Town Brewery was acquired by AB InBev. The deal was estimated to be worth around £85 million, and brought Camden’s Hells, Pils and Pale Ale brands within a portfolio that already includes Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck’s.

The move was criticised by members of the the craft beer community at the time, who claimed the company had sold out to a corporate giant. This included fellow craft brewer BrewDog who immediately removed Camden Town lager from its bars around the world after hearing of the deal.

The sale of Camden Town Brewery came less than three weeks after AB InBev confirmed plans to sell another London-based craft brewer, Meantime, which it acquired as part of its £71 billion takeover of rival SABMiller earlier this year.

By Lauren Eads

Source: The Drinks Business

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