US: Craft brewery M&A to rise - Goose Island founder

By | 23 January 2013

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.

Expert analysis

2012 The U.S. Beer Market

This "value set" report combines Beer in the U.S., Imported Beer and Specialty Beer and Microbrewery Markets to create the most exhaustive study of the U.S. beer market available. An $18,000+ value that is priced much lower, it scrutinizes all aspects, covering state and regional markets, distribution channels, brewers and brands, imports, exports, packaging, pricing, advertising, demographics and projections. It also provides in-depth examination of the mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures reshaping the industry plus projections through 2016.

Sectors: Beer & cider, Mergers & acquisitions

Companies: InBev

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