Talk about having your finger on the pulse: Anheuser-Busch InBev will wholly acquire one of Italy’s most popular craft breweries, Birra del Borgo.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed and Birra del Borgo founder Leonardo Di Vincenzo will continue to serve as CEO.
In a press statement, the smaller brewery described the deal as a “partnership” that would give it a “unique opportunity to make the necessary investments for expansion while continuing to independently manage its business and define how to grow.”
“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,” Di Vincenzo said in a press release. “We believe partnering with A-B 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.”
Launched by Di Vincenzo in 2005 in a small town about 60 miles east of Rome, Birra del Borgo has grown to become one of Italy’s leading craft breweries and is known for its popular RealAle, Duchessa and DucAle offerings.
In the U.S., craft aficionados probably recognize the Birra del Borgo name because of its previous collaborations with Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. The two companies first partnered on the 7.5 percent ABV ‘My Antonia’ lager back in 2008. Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione then tapped Di Vincenzo as a partner in the rooftop La Birreria, located off 5th avenue in Manhattan above the popular Italian marketplace, Eataly.
The Birra del Borgo purchase is the latest in a string of craft acquisitions that A-B InBev has executed as of late. The company most recently acquired Virginia’s Devils Backbone Brewing Company, its eighth U.S. craft brewery purchase since 2011 and its sixth in the last 18 months.
The drinks giant has also purchased a number of small breweries in foreign markets. Last December it purchased London’s Camden Town Brewery and in October, via its Labatt Breweries of Canada subsidiary, it purchased Toronto’s Mills Street Brewery.
And, via its Ambev subsidiary, A-B InBev also made notable acquisitions in Brazil and Columbia in 2015: In July, it struck a deal with Cervejaria Colorado; in May it purchased Brazil’s Cervejaria Wäls and in February it bought Columbia’s largest craft brewery, Bogota Beer Company.
More information regarding the Birra del Borgo transaction is included in the press release below.
ROME, Italy — Birra del Borgo is happy to announce that it has decided to partner with Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev). The partnership will give Birra del Borgo, one of the leading craft brewers in Italy, a unique opportunity to make the necessary investments for expansion while continuing to independently manage its business and define how to grow.
AB InBev will provide the support to allow Birra de Borgo to expand its brewery know how and infrastructure, continue to innovate and bring new great beers on the market through its distribution system. Founder Leonardo Di Vincenzo will continue to lead Birra Del Borgo as CEO of the company.
In 2005, Birra Del Borgo was founded by Leonardo Di Vincenzo in Borgorose, a small town in the province of Rieti on the border between Lazio and Abruzzo in Italy. Leonardo started brewing beer at home for enjoyment while at University studying biochemistry. He traveled frequently throughout Europe to explore the traditional beer styles; getting to know the German and Belgium master brewers was crucial to his education. One of Leonardo’s most formative experiences was brewing at the Starbess brewery in Rome, which later led to his conception of Birra del Borgo. Leonardo’s initial inspiration comes from English & Belgian beers, but he then reinvented the styles to root them in the Italian gastronomy culture. Leonardo currently produces ten beers year round, some famous such as ReAle, Duchessa, DucAle. Other Birra del Borgo products include 4 Seasonals inspired by local ingredients and several unique beers brewed with original techniques, under the “Bizzarre” family. Leo’s inspiration is dictated by the moment and seasonality related to the main ingredient, with a passion to reinvent styles and push boundaries.
Leonardo will remain the CEO of Birra Del Borgo.
Leonardo Di Vincenzo said: “Our voyage since we started in 2005 has been a great adventure. 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 partnership with AB InBev will bring us many advantages, from technological improvements and access to scientific research to the possibility to grow from a commercial point of view. Moreover, this partnership also means that we will be able to focus much more on what we enjoy most and do best: creating and experimenting with exciting new beers and pushing the boundaries of beer evolution in Italy.
He added: “We will continue brewing all of our beers in Borgorose, which will allow us to grow by continuing to invest in our local community, as we have always done. At Birra del Borgo, we have a great team with enormous enthusiasm and love for what we do every day. It is with this team that we start this exciting second chapter in Birra del Borgo’s history. The heart and soul of Birra del Borgo will remain unchanged and it is with the very same passion and love for beer that we will continue Re(Thinking) Ale”.
Simon Wuestenberg, Country Director for AB InBev Italia, said: “We have been very impressed by what Leonardo and his team have built since 2005. 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. As a challenger on the Italian market, we have been successfully developing our business with a great portfolio of premium and specialty brands in the last few years. Today, that portfolio becomes even stronger with some of the best of “Made in Italy”.”
Through this transaction, Birra del Borgo will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of AB InBev.
Terms of the agreement are not being disclosed.
About Birra del Borgo
Birra Del Borgo was founded in 2005 by Leonardo Di Vincenzo in Borgorose, a small town in the province of Rieti on the border between Lazio and Abruzzo in Italy. Birra del Borgo’s initial inspiration comes from English & Belgian beers, with a reinvention of the styles to root them in the Italian gastronomy culture. Birra del Borgo currently produces ten beers year round, some famous such as ReAle, Duchessa, DucAle. Other Birra del Borgo products include 4 Seasonals inspired by local ingredients and several unique beers brewed with original techniques, under the “Bizzarre” family. Birra del Borgo’s inspiration is dictated by the moment and seasonality related to the main ingredient, with a passion to reinvent styles and push boundaries to (Re)think Ale.
About AB InBev
Anheuser-Busch InBev Italia distributes a broad portfolio of international premium beer brands in Italy, including Beck’s, Corona, Bud, Tennent’s Super, Leffe, Stella Artois, Hoegaarden, Spaten and Franziskaner. It is a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev, publicly traded company (Euronext: ABI) based in Leuven, Belgium, with American Depositary Receipts on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: BUD). Anheuser-Busch InBev is the world’s leading brewery, one of the top five companies of consumer goods in the world and first in the beverage industry in the ranking “World’s Most Admired” of FORTUNE magazine.
The beer, the first social network, brought together people for thousands of years and the portfolio of Anheuser-
Busch InBev with over 200 beer brands continues to maintain a strong connection with consumers. The dedication of Anheuser-Busch InBev to this cultural heritage and the quality comes from the Den Hoorn brewery in Leuven, Belgium, founded in 1366 and the pioneering spirit of the Anheuser & Co brewery, operating in St. Louis, U.S.A. since 1852. Geographically diversified with a balanced exposure between developed and developing markets, Anheuser Busch InBev leverages the strengths of its approximately 150,000 employees based in 25 countries around the world. In 2015, AB InBev’s revenues amounted to 43.6 billion dollars. The company dreams of becoming the best producer of beer that brings people together for a better world.