Atom Group is based in the south of England

Atom Group is based in the south of England

Anheuser-Busch InBev has utilised its ZX Ventures development division to acquire UK-based e-commerce drinks business Atom Group.

The transaction, announced earlier today, sees Atom and its team of 175 employees, move under A-B InBev's control. The group will inherit Atom's three divisions:

  • Master of Malt, a global e-commerce platform
  • Atom Brands, creator of "unusual and speciality" drinks and spirits, and
  • Maverick Drinks, Atom's distribution arm

The purchase, for an undisclosed sum, has been driven more by the brewer's interest in Atom's e-commerce platform than a keenness to operate in the spirits category, a spokesperson told just-drinks today.

A-B InBev's UK unit said today: "Justin Petszaft, the founder, and his three business partners, Ben Ellefsen, Tom McGuinness and Joel Kelly, will now be able to tap into ZX Ventures and A-B InBev's global expertise and resources in order to scale up their pioneering e-commerce platform and get innovative and speciality drinks brands to more people around the world."

"We've always been a technology-focused business," said Petszaft, who will remain as group MD at Atom. "We recognised a kindred spirit in ZX Ventures, in its mission to innovate, grow and answer new consumer demands."

As well as buying craft brewers, ZX Ventures, which was set up by A-B InBev in 2015, has a record of activity beyond beer. In June last year, the unit acquired a minority stake in US beer ratings website RateBeer.

just-drinks spoke to Master of Malt sales director, and Atom Group business partner, Ben Ellefsen in 2015