A trade group for craft brewers launched a new crowdfunding effort Monday with a pie-in-the-sky goal: a hostile takeover of AB InBev, the largest beer company on earth.
Mega-brewer AB InBev, the parent company Anheuser-Bush/Budweiser, has been on a kick in recent years of buying out smaller craft beer brands.
On Monday, the Brewers Association launched its plan in response. Billing it as a largest-ever crowdfunding effort, the fundraising goal is pretty steep: $213 billion, enough to buy all the shares of AB InBev stock at its current price.
Don’t hold your breath.
To raise this much money, the Brewers Association needs every person in the United States (yes, kids too!) to donate $653.37.
If they go global, it’s $28.78 from every human on the planet.
Of course, it only takes 50 percent ownership to control a publicly-traded company, so technically they could achieve this goal at half the cost.
It’s such a non-serious effort that they haven’t figured out a lot of basics, like: who would own AB InBev if they succeed?
Would they keep making Budweiser if they bought the company out?
“Let’s wait ‘til we get there,” said Julia Herz. “But that’d be a fun conversation to have and a major plot twist, wouldn’t it?”
Some in the beer scene have watched in horror as AB InBev (the parent company of Anheuser Bush/Budweiser) bought out several popular craft beer brands.
In Colorado, it was Breckenridge brewing. But, that wasn’t the first acquisition in the craft world by the giant publicly-traded beer company.
AB InBev owns ten craft labels, including Goose Island, 10 Barrel, and Elysian.
Herz says there’s nothing inherently wrong with a brewer building their brand and selling to a bigger company for a profit. She says the Brewers Association’s beef is that customers aren’t aware of who owns some of these craft brands.
“The confusion that’s been created is strange. There’s not a sense of transparency,” Herz said. “Breckenridge has sold and you cannot tell by the beer label that they are owned by the largest conglomerate for beer in the world.”
Breckenridge Brewery did not immediately respond to our email asking for comment.
The Brewers Association isn’t treating the crowdfunding campaign as a terribly serious effort.
Donors aren’t asked to enter any form of payment to pledge a dollar amount toward the goal, but they are asked to check a box to “agree that we'll be in touch if somehow, miraculously, against every odd, the $213 billion crowdfunding goal is reached.”
By lunchtime Monday, the website for the campaign already reported 1,435 pledges totaling $441,500 — or 0.0002 percent of the goal.