A-B InBev Receives Federal Approval to Buy Texas’ Karbach

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The federal government has approved Anheuser-Busch InBev’s acquisition of Texas-based Karbach Brewing Company.

“We have received federal antitrust approval to close our transaction with Karbach Brewing Co., which we anticipate will occur in the next several weeks,” Adam Warrington, senior director of communications for A-B InBev’s The High End division, said in a note to reporters.

The global beer titan announced the purchase of Karbach, the fastest-growing craft brewery in the Lone Star State, on Nov. 3. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and there was some question as to how the U.S. Department of Justice would react to A-B acquiring another brewery after the government agency vowed to “carefully scrutinize any future craft acquisitions” in the wake of an investigation into the purchase of Devils Backbone.

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Earlier this year, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Juan Arteaga said the division would “consider whether these transactions, either singularly or collectively, are likely to harm competition by, among other things, giving ABI the ability to prevent its craft rivals from effectively getting their products to the market.”

In a conversation with Brewbound, High End president Felipe Szpigel said he anticipated receiving approval of the transaction in late 2016 or the first quarter of 2017.

The addition of Karbach bolsters an already loaded roster of A-B-owned craft entities, including Goose Island, Blue Point, 10 Barrel, Elysian, Golden Road, Virtue Cider, Four Peaks, Breckenridge Brewery, Devils Backbone and SpikedSeltzer.

The addition of Houston-based Karbach may also signal the end — for now — of A-B’s aggressive acquisitions of craft breweries. Speaking of the company’s M&A strategy, Spzigel told the Houston Chronicle that “most of that effort, if not all of it, is behind us,” and “99.99 percent” of the High End’s focus would now be on growing its acquired brands.

Karbach produced 55,000 barrels of beer last year and reportedly expects to produce 80,000 barrels of beer. In a press release, A-B said it planned to scale capacity at Karbach’s Houston production facility to 150,000 barrels by 2019.

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