Anheuser-Busch InBev to Acquire Blue Point Brewing

Anheuser-Busch InBev today announced it will purchase New York’s Blue Point Brewing Company in a deal that sources familiar with the situation say could be valued near $24 million.

The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter and will combine Blue Point –a top-50 U.S. craft brewery that produced 60,000 barrels in 2013 — with the world’s largest brewing conglomerate.

A full press release is below. Official story to follow.

ST. LOUIS and LONG ISLAND, N.Y., Feb. 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ – Anheuser-Busch today announced it has agreed to purchase Blue Point Brewing Co., one of the nation’s top craft brewers with more than 40 beers and sales concentrated along the East Coast, in a move that will bring additional resources to Blue Point’s operations, allowing it to meet growing consumer demand for its award‑winning brands. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Blue Point, known for its creativity, was founded by Mark Burford and Peter Cotter 15 years ago in Patchogue, N.Y., where the brewery will continue to operate. Anheuser-Busch also plans to invest in the brewery to grow its operational capabilities and enhance the consumer experience over the next few years.

“We are deeply grateful to our family of loyal employees and customers. Our success was made possible by the hard work of good people and good beer in Patchogue,” said Peter Cotter, who will continue to be instrumental in the success of the brands along with co-founder Mark Burford. “Together, our talented brewing team and Anheuser-Busch will have the resources to create new and exciting beers and share our portfolio with even more beer lovers,” said Mark Burford.

In 2013, Blue Point sold approximately 60,000 barrels, with 50 percent of the volume from its flagship brand, Toasted Lager. It also sells Hoptical Illusion, Blueberry Ale and seasonal brands among others.

“As we welcome Blue Point into the Anheuser-Busch family of brands, we look forward to working with Mark and Peter to accelerate the growth of the Blue Point portfolio and expand to new markets, while preserving the heritage and innovation of the brands,” said Luiz Edmond, CEO of Anheuser-Busch. “With Anheuser-Busch’s strong beer credentials, we share a commitment to offering high-quality beers that excite consumers. Blue Point brands have a strong following and even more potential.”

Anheuser-Busch’s purchase of Blue Point is expected to close in early second quarter of 2014.

Ippolito Christon & Co. acted as financial advisers to Blue Point. Ettelman & Hochheiser, P.C. acted as legal counsel to Blue Point.

About Blue Point Brewing Company

Blue Point Brewing Company is Long Island’s oldest and most award-winning brewery. Founded in 1998 by Mark Burford andPete Cotter, Blue Point Brewery is headquartered in Patchogue, New York, and is currently the 34th largest craft brewery in the U.S. Blue Point Brewing Company is independently owned and operated and its beers are available in 15 states of distribution including New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont,Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Michigan. Blue Point’s portfolio of more than 40 craft beers includes Hoptical Illusion, ESB, RastafaRye Ale, Sour Cherry Imperial Stout, Toxic Sludge, White IPA, No Apologies Double IPA, and its flagship Toasted Lager, which won the World Beer Cup in 2006.

About Anheuser-Busch

For more than 160 years, Anheuser-Busch and its world-class brewmasters have carried on a legacy of brewing America’s most-popular beers. Starting with the finest, all-natural ingredients sourced from Anheuser-Busch’s family of growers, every batch is hand-crafted using the same exacting standards and time-honored traditions passed down through generations of proud Anheuser-Busch brewmasters and employees. Best known for its fine American-style lagers, Budweiser and Bud Light, the company’s beers lead numerous beer segments and combined hold 47.6 percent share of the U.S. beer market. Anheuser-Busch is the U.S. arm of Anheuser-Busch InBev and operates 12 breweries, 17 distributorships and 23 agricultural and packaging facilities across the United States, representing a capital investment of more than $15.5 billion. Its flagship brewery remains in St. Louis, Mo., and is among the global company’s largest and most technologically capable breweries. Visitor and special beermaster tours are available at its St. Louis and four other Anheuser-Busch breweries. For more information, visitwww.anheuser-busch.com.

Brewery: Blue Point Brewery Website: http://www.bluepointbrewing.com/
Address: 161 River Ave
Patchoque, NY 11772
United States
  • Mike Wash

    So disappointed in BluePoint! Thanks for putting $$$ signs in front of a locally profitable business. I do not support big business bullshit corporations! (I’m sure many of your loyal customers don’t either) Good-Bye :(

    • Nate

      “Thanks for putting $$$ signs in front of a locally profitable business.”

      Oh the irony… One doesn’t become “locally profitable” (whatever that means) or any kind of profitable by ignoring the $$$ from the get-go.

      What is your cut-off point for a business being small and acceptable and big and bullshit? I’m looking for a hard sales or revenue number.

      • Mike Wash

        You’re a douche if you don’t know the difference Nate. You’d better run off to wal-mart and buy up some mass produced crap! With your profit margins…

        • Nate

          Wow….straight to the name-calling.

          You didn’t address anything I said or asked, but that’s cool. I’m sure the computer you’re typing on was artisanally and lovingly built by craftspeople with hardly an eye towards profits.

          I’m willing to bet that you do, in fact, support and benefit from a few “big business bullshit corporations,” despite your claims to the contrary.

          • Mike Wash

            I apologize for the name calling nate. I just feel saddened when products that are of a small batch/artisan nature get bought up in the name of money not love of the craft. That’s part of the appeal! I’ll take my $ elsewhere. Their choice to sell to unibev directly influenced this decision?

          • Nate

            No worries…

            As a long-time vet of the “craft” brewing business, I can safely say that the “craft” brewers have made great hay playing up that sentimentality, that aura of collaboration and camaraderie, the glorification of this undefinable notion of “craft.” And it feels good to support something like that. Hell, Greg Koch built one of the biggest breweries in the country, ABI & MillerCoors included, on peddling that myth!

            However, for the guys making the beer and trying to pay their rent professionally brewing beer, the beer biz is insanely competitive, it’s often dangerous and it’s not always about the “love of the craft.” It’s a business, first and foremost.

          • Mike Wash

            I hear your argument but I do not agree that selling your craft brand to a world wide corp improves anything but the bottom line. By the looks of most of the response I’m not alone. That in itself should raise concern. I’m not looking for shocktop bluemoon or Applebees or McDonald’s when I buy beer. Inbev realized that they are losing market share to a cottage industry that by their very nature they cannot compete in.

          • AdGuy

            That is not what will happen here. IF anything the quality and innovation will only get better. What they will begin doing is brewing their large production beers at AB breweries. THis will give them back over half of their local brewing capacity to focus on what brought them to beer making in the first place, innovation and experimentation. Non of their beer will change and the current head brewer will make sure of that.

          • lovemebeer

            This comment above is simply untrue. Look at Goose Island. The two brews that are done at the big AB facilities don’t taste the same are frankly I no longer buy them. now the hard to find locally brewed stuff has still been phenomenal, it’s just much harder to find. In fact I find it to be much harder up here in MN/WI to get the smaller batches than I used to. The bottom line of big or small, isn’t the actual size, but the taste quality. I have worked with the big brewers, they based everything on numbers. I am sure if you were to ask a craft brewer they would tell you it’s all about the taste, the numbers are only part of the story. If you think none of their beers will change, good luck with that. Heck I am pretty sure the stuff they used to brew in Chicago was NOT pasteurized, everything leaving AB will be. How can heating up a beer not change the taste? Every brewer I have spoke to has told me it does. And Nate, there is nothing wrong with competition, but the fact remains as of just a couple years ago AB(InBev) and MillerCoors had approximately 88% market share. How do you think they got to that high of a percentage? It was done in large part with illegal marketing (“you can’t carry our brands if you carry these other ones”) and cost. If you look at cake mixes, the gov forced General Mills to sell of the Pilsbury brand of mixes because they would have had too much market share which was not near what the beer industry had been like. If you think these big guys are all about making a quality product for the consumer you are very wrong. Everyone works for money, there is nothing wrong with that, but when I buy stuff I buy based on quality. I don’t even consider beer from the big guys as comparable to the craft brews. Because they are not. The big guys are buying market share in the craft industry, that is what they are doing, because even though beer sales as a whole are stagnant, the craft industry has a whole has grown exponentially. The big guys are seeing their profits diminish. Instead of responding with small batches of specialty brews they are trying to buy business in the market. More power to them but I don’t and won’t support any money following AB, period. They tried to crush the craft industry. They succeed in the 70′s and got caught in the 90′s. As such I do not support any part of their business period. Heck I made my sister cry because I refuse to have AB in my fridge, for anyone.

          • Greg Koch

            It is not a myth to me. I live it, breath it, and truly BELIEVE it. If we’re “one of the biggest breweries in the country” it’s only because of the so-called long tail. Stone is about 1/10th the size of Boston Beer, and maybe somewhere around 1/50th (prolly a LOT smaller than that) the size of ABI.

            I believe in collaboration and camaraderie in craft brewing.

          • Nate

            Hey Greg, thanks for taking the time to respond! I guess I would say this… We can debate what constitutes big and why there are long tails, etc., etc. But the fact remains that breweries like Stone, Sierra, Anchor and New Belgium are the big dogs on the craft brewing block these days. And that is a great thing. The beer culture in this country is all the better for having breweries like yours putting great, interesting beers out there.

            Maybe “narrative” is a better word than myth. So much of craft brewing’s success and marketing (however you want to define it) was built on a revolt against the big three. I get it. There’s a lot of truth to it. My point, however, is that we’re almost 30 years into the this “industry” that we call craft brewing. It can safely be called an industry, no? This industry has grown up, matured and has become a lot more crowded, especially in recent years. It’s no longer enough to rail against Bud if you want to sell your (the royal ‘your’) beer. If I were to open a brewery tomorrow, I’d be facing more competition from the other craft breweries in my area and from the big dogs like Brooklyn, Sierra and yes…Stone, than I would be from Bud or Miller.

            I too believe in collaboration and cooperation in the craft business. However, I also realize that breweries are businesses. Hence, I am fascinated by the “screw Blue Point…and by the way, they were never any good anyway…” reaction to what came down to a business decision (or series of business decisions) for the owners and investors of Blue Point. It’s like we really WANT to believe that breweries and their owners and employees somehow have some “purity of essence” and when something like this happens, it goes against that narrative that has been relentlessly sold and told for 30 years.

          • DTRDonovan

            i am just starting out on my Craft Beer dream. I am an east coast guy but I have experienced nothing but good things from the brewers out here. I have had so much help from the other brewers in the area that I don’t think that I would be up and running with out them.

    • Brittney

      Are you forgetting their change in policy in regards to sampling a couple years ago? It’s a business primarily, money is important. I have no doubt that Blue Point’s development was also a labor of love, and I won’t discredit them for making those in-house changes. I am, however, dubious of this decision to sell.

  • Brian

    Heartbreaking…..As a long time supporter of this brand it is disappointing to see this. Thanks for the memories, its off to Great South Bay Brewing Co now.

  • vic

    i WAS a loyal bluepoint customer and friend and much more id never buy or support blue point again.. thanks for selling out..

  • Alan Crosley

    Wow – that sucks. Can’t believe they sold out!

  • Nate

    It’s as predictable as the tides – the faux outrage that a successful business wants to continue to grow, provide jobs and continue to exist in a brutally competitive marketplace. You all seem to want Blue Point to be successful…just not THAT successful.

    • Jacob

      Amazingly said.

    • veltins

      It’s just another example of a monopoly by 1-3 large companies. Anheuser is owned by Inbev, which owns many other breweries and has been buying up craft breweries. I don’t recall how it is in NY, but these same companies also own (or lobby for) distribution rights, keeping smaller places at bay. They will eventually move brewing operations and the things that made Blue Point a special local place will disappear. Do you think it will create more jobs on LI? OR even NY? No, they’ll just produce the bier in another plant or simply someplace cheaper.

      • Nate

        That “oligopoly” is doing a really horrible job of stifling competition, which you’d think they’d be trying to do. A brewery a day is opening in this country, with thousands more in the planning stages.

        I get the sentimental argument that Long Island beer fans feel when they see one of their local breweries, grow/adapt/change into something that they don’t recognize. I totally get it. But, perhaps that leaves the playing field open for another brewery. It’s the nature of the beast. I think people forget, or don’t want to acknowledge that even in its smallest, most artisanal form, brewing is brutally complex and competitive business. There are many survival strategies that breweries grow and their competition changes and grows.

        As for the jobs argument, I’ll definitely give you that. But, here’s a hypothetical to consider. What is better for the NY and by extension, the US economy? A few low-paying jobs (I have no idea what BP pays, but “craft” brewers typically pay shit wages) on LI or the living wages, benefits and relative job security of the brewers in the Baldwinsville NY? If I were an economist, I’d love to study the economic impact of that.

        • veltins

          yes yes , oligopoly. Brewing is a tough job and certainly more breweries will be opening. Will it help the US economy? Maybe, somewhat. The BP guys have said all is well with the company, so why did they sell? Probably because that same big company prevents them from being able to distribute far and wide, so they have no choice in order to get to the next level. I’m sure part of the reason is they’ll have more access to ingredients, yadda yadda. In the end, the main problem here is it’s another example of the big, international company buying the little guy out. Of course, the bigger surprise is these guys decided to sell in the first place.

        • WidowTangoFoxtrot

          InBev and Millers Coors own 90% of the market. I would say that is a pretty good job of stifling competition.

          • Nate

            Your claim isn’t backed up by the numbers. How do you explain the explosive growth in the number of breweries over the past 30-odd years then? How do you explain the 1,744 breweries in planning (according to http://www.breweriesinplanning.com)? If the giant brewers are trying to keep brewers out of the marketplace, then they are doing an absolutely horrible job of it.

          • QuentonQuale

            It’s probably volume. Many brewers are extremely small when compared with the volume churned out by Bud/Miller/Coors–all virtually indistinguishable except for their ad campaigns. Tasteless seltzer waters.

    • jim buck

      i can’t speak for everybody,but it seems as if the people opposing the sale are because of inbev,not because of the sale itself.i think ,if the deal was with another top craft brewer,it would be accepted..craft brewers for the most part are trying to make a better product,while of course making money..anheuser bush{ inbev } are simply about money..there in lies the difference.

  • Matt Sasso

    Way to Go Pete and Mark. An amazing accomplishment.

  • lisacordani

    Congrats Peter and thanks for all the help you’ve given to non-profits over the years, I know Blue Point got on the radar of the larger corps because of your hard work.

    • Todd Jacobs

      I have been drinking and serving Bluepoint Beer since Mark and Peter were making it in their garage. While I understand and appreciate all that has been said on the subject, I have known Peter and Mark for years and their incredible passion for their craft is what has fueled their success. As long as they are at the helm i will continue to support their brand. Congratulations to you both!!

  • nicky29

    Blue Point was one of my go-to beers… now I will never drink it again. Too bad.

  • Jon

    No longer craft beer.

  • Pete

    Too bad. While I can understand why they would sell, there is no reason for a New Yorker to buy this beer when there are so many good local beers to buy from. No reason to send all of those profits and tax dollars overseas.

  • veltins

    That sucks. I am surprised Blue Point sold out to budweiser. I can only stop drinking their beer now.

  • veltins

    That sucks. I am surprised Blue Point sold out to budweiser. I can only stop drinking their beer now.

  • Lisa

    So I guess Blue Point will just be selling bottled water now?

  • Jaclyn

    Wow, what an INCREDIBLE disappointment. I guess I have to find another decent blueberry somewhere else.

  • Scott

    As long as the brewery atmosphere stays the same and the quality of their beer remains great, I don’t see the problem in expanding your business. It’s not like the owners sold it, got a huge payday, and allowed Anheuser-Bush to lay off all of their employees and produce another “natty light” swill under the Blue Point name. Selling out doesn’t mean finally making money, it means compromising your ideals and beliefs in order to make money.

  • Ross

    I really enjoyed the part of the article that included the bio about inbev (finest, all-natural ingredients, every batch is hand-crafted, etc)….that basically sums up how much bs you’re being fed in this whole situation. Good luck to whoever will run that place, never had their beer, certainly never will.

    • chrisfurnari

      Ross — That is a boilerplate, provided by ABI. Pretty standard on just about every press release. If you’ll notice, we called it out when we wrote “full press release is below.”

  • Casey

    This is very sad news. Congrats to Mark and Pete for being successful enough to get to this point. Unfortunately In-Bev is the corporate monster that I avoided for years by drinking Blue Point. Infact, bluepoint taught me most of what I know about drinking craft beer instead of corporate swill. This decision to sell turns my stomach into knots. Everything they stood for. Remember guys… it was “Drink Local Think Global” not Drink Global Think Local. Mark, Pete I hope you will understand why I cannot ever purchase blue-point products ever again. I will continue to support other local breweries as I did bluepoint. RIP Blue Point Brewery (As we knew it).

  • Judilynn Sanzone

    WELL GOOD FOR YOU MARK BURFORD, I HOPE YOU GET SO RICH ITS DISGUSTING. YOU DESERVE IT.

  • Jonathan Benintendo

    Thanks for selling out guys….Good thing I learned to homebrew…I will never buy a Blue Point Product Again.

  • Joe

    Want a replacement NY Lager, then look to Yonkers Brewing Co. My favorite new beer that I can get in a few of the bars near me in the West 50′s, of Manhattan.

  • Mark P

    Good for them. A great accomplishment and testament to their hard work in growing their business. Hopefully this allows more good beer to meet a larger number of people. As for those calling them “sell outs” I would like to your reaction if someone offered you $24 million.

    • Greg Koch

      I will give you my reaction, it’s “No thanks.” Double it? “No thanks.” Multiply it by ten times and what response will you get from me? “Aren’t you listening? Now go away and stop bothering me.” (That’s the polite version.)

  • John Zuccarello

    I think I’m going to be sick….. for a fist full of dollars what a sell out.

  • JM

    How many of you drink goose island? Bourbon county stout is still in the top 5 ranked stouts on the planet and it flys off the shelves once a year. You will all soon forget the bud connection and take the beer on the liquid itself not who owns it. The liquid will stay consistent and you’ll all still buy the hoptical illusion you love JM

    • veltins

      I don’t drink Goose Island. The real fact is ‘big beer’ making the purchase and though things may not change too much, they are like record companies buying up smaller record labels to take them out of the picture and it usually causes more harm than good.

  • Jeremy Drod

    Way to sell out the first chance you get Blue Point. DRINK LOCAL people

  • Kate Kaplan

    There’s no need to be disappointed. They weren’t brewing their own beer to begin with. 90% of Blue Points volume is brewed and packaged at Genesee Brewery in Rochester, NY.

    • QuentonQuale

      You have a point there. The bottled product was never that good compared to the beers they served at the local brewery. I don’t drink their bottled beers. Only the tap stuff.

  • Glenn

    As a Rochester native I guess I’m removed from the whole local Long Island sell out thing. Good for them as their beer was already being mass produced up here in Rochester and I know Peter has a wonderful family so I’m sure he’ll have much more time to spend with them. Hopefully the price comes down so I can double up on my summer by the pool consumption.

  • QuentonQuale

    I have followed the destruction of beer brands in the wake of InBev. Cheap tasteless product at low prices is the result of their influence. A very sad outcome for Bluepoint. It was nice knowing you BP. Thankfully, other small brewers are sprouting up on Long Island to fill the void.

  • John

    Well, I will just buy another small batch brewer. So many available today. Good luck Blue Point, you won’t get my $$$

  • Bob Sharp

    I’m happy that Pete and Mark saw the payback. I’m enormously concerned that the spirit of Blue Point will not survive under InBev ownership for long.

    I will continue to patronize the Brewery, but will start to pay more attention to GSB and Pt Jeff breweries going forward.

    Somehow, I can’t see Bill and Micky (Rhythm Devils) playing in Budweiser’s parking lot…
    :-(

  • jackmamma

    Too bad. Because i did have Goose Island before the AB take over and the beer as dropped in quality do to them handing off their recipes to other brew masters so they could expand. Their ipa is one of the worst on the market now. I have never had a blue point but I feel for you locals. I hope nothing changes though.

  • Ron

    I for one was pleased with the news. I had the opportunity to drink the toasted lager in 2007 while in the area on business. As I live in Oklahoma, its never been distributed here. I’m looking forward to getting to drink it again.