Elysian Brewing Gets Bought by AB-InBev, Now What?

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In case you missed it,Elysian Brewing announced that AB-In Bev will be purchasing their company as well as their four brewpubs with the intent to have the sale completed by the end of the year. This isn’t the first craft brewery to be bought out by one of the big guys, but this one seemed to hurt the most.

Maybe it’s because I love their beer. I’ve been advocate of the quality product they make ever since I tried my first Dragonstooth Stout and continually recommend them to others. To me, they were so underrated and needed awareness for their brand. I think I may even be on record somewhere saying that they’re my favorite brewery at the moment. I love so many of their beers, especially Space Dust, Punkuccino, and Split Shot. Seriously, at one point, I had the cute little flying hop guy on the Space Dust label as my desktop image. I’m a fangirl.
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Maybe it’s because of this label. ‘Sticking it to the man’ is one of my favorite things. Ever. The punk attitude of screwing corporate America always lingers in the back of my mind. Isn’t that a big part of what this craft beer movement is all about? Buying local, buying small, supporting the mom and pop shop breweries that are out there just straight up killing it with great product?

Then, Elysian responded:

Yes, we were bought.

On Friday 23, it was announced that Elysian Brewing was going to be acquired by Anheuser-Busch. Since the moment that news hit, we’ve heard from our fans and customers, friends and advocates, industry partners and fellow brewers. The response on our social media platforms and in the comments of many articles has been a mixed bag of anger, support, questions, and disappointment. We want to acknowledge that we hear you — all of you — and have been reading all of your comments. For those with questions and concerns, we are trying to respond as quickly as possible.

The employees of Elysian found out on Friday morning, just like everyone else. While there are certainly mixed feelings within the company, our three original owners and co-founders, Joe, Dick, and Dave, are all on board and committed to leading us through what’s next. A couple quick facts that we do know, and that we’d like to share:

– AB does not, and will not, decide our beer recipes or dictate changes to our beer. AB is not sending in people to take over, and our current teams are staying intact.

– We will probably see some changes at the brewery in the form of new equipment, access to new (quality) ingredients, and educational opportunities for our brewers.

– Our restaurants will stay exactly where they are and our beer will still be brewed in Seattle.

– Great Pumpkin Beer Festival is happening.

– Loser, with the tagline Corporate Beer Still Sucks, will continue to be brewed and packaged. Yes, we still think corporate beer still sucks. Yes, we get the joke.

– Some of our employees are excited about new opportunities, some are upset, and some are waiting for more information.

– We have a big, weird family of people who’ve worked their asses off and dedicated their time and energy to get Elysian to where it is today.

– No, this message did not get approved by AB. Unless there are any typos… then, it’s their fault.

So, what next? Well, this week has been oddly similar to last week with the notable exception that a lot more people hate us. As employees, we get it. But, we’re taking it one day at a time and looking forward to finding out for ourselves what the future holds. We’re going to keep doing our jobs, and drinking our beer made by the same people with the same ingredients as they were last week. We’re going to keep being creative and weird and inventive and whatever other pre-Friday-the-23rd adjective you would have ascribed to us. We’re going to keep talking to people, and partners, and customers. We’re going to listen. We’re going to continue to support the charitable endeavors we believe in. And, after that, we will figure it out.

Does this change how I feel? Yeah, a little bit. Am I going to stop buying Elysian? Check my Untappd feed, clearly not. I never boycott breweries as a result of these transactions. I get that it comes down to business, money, and doing what you think is right as a business owner. But, man, this one really hurt, and I have to just say that I’m disappointed.

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