Goose Island will now be fully managed by A-B InBev execs

Goose Island will now be fully managed by A-B InBev execs

The founder of Goose Island has voiced his surprise at the lack of M&A activity in the US craft beer sector and admitted he had “mixed emotions” about quitting the company he set up.

Speaking exclsuively to just-drinks, John Hall, 70, who has stepped down at Goose to take a role with Anheuser-Busch InBev on its craft advisory board, said he believes there will be more consolidation in the market. But, he said: “ I would have thought there would have been more already.”

“There's no way that all these companies starting up are going to be successful by themselves," he said. "It's pretty hard to do that, it's just the nature of the business.”

Hall sold his Chicago-based company for US$38.8m to A-B InBev in March 2011. Having decided to leave as CEO after 25 years at the helm, he admitted he had “mixed emotions”.

“I love what I did and still do,” he said. “But there's a time when you have to change things. But, I still want to be involved and will be involved.”

A-B InBev's Import, Craft and Specialty VP, Andy Goeler, has now taken the role of Goose's CEO. 

Responding to concerns about the direction A-B InBev will take Goose in, Hall said:  “People have been saying that since 2006, when we first started dealing with A-B InBev, but we continue to make good beer.” 

But, he added: “Sure there will be changes. But, we have a mission statement that A-B (InBev) believes in too and is in some way similar to A-B's mission statement.”

And, will Hall be looking at craft brewery acquisitions for A-B InBev? “I would guess if that comes up, then that would be part of it. But, we haven't said anything specific on that at all,” he said.