As the craft beer industry continues to grow, larger beer companies are taking notice and acquiring smaller breweries.
Florida isn't immune to this phenomenon. Several international conglomerates have already snatched up breweries in the Sunshine State. Since the purchase of North Carolina's Wicked Weed Brewing Company by Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB-InBev), rumors have been swirling on social media that Oakland Park's Funky Buddha Brewery is next.
Funky Buddha owner Ryan Sentz firmly denies any deal has taken place with another company — at least for now.
One of the criteria for a brewery to be considered craft, according to the Brewers Association, is that it must be "independent," or have less than 25 percent ownership "by an alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer."
The issue of outside ownership is a contentious one for some. In an open letter he penned in December 2015, Lincoln's Beard Brewing Co. co-owner John Falco ridiculed AB-InBev's power to buy (nearly) any brewery in the nation by offering to purchase the beer giant for a mere $26,000.
But getting bought out isn't necessarily a bad thing. It could mean getting acquired by another craft brewery or, even better, another independent craft brewery in the state.
Here are six breweries in Florida that have some or all outside investors.
1. Cigar City Brewing Company
Tampa native Joey Redner started Cigar City Brewing in 2007, and the following year he hired brewer Wayne Wambles, who's still there. With help from Boston-based private equity firm Fireman Capital Partners, Colorado's Oskar Blues Brewery acquired Cigar City in March 2016 for an undisclosed amount, Brewbound reported. Cigar City is known for Hunahpu's Day, an annual beer festival built around the brewery's Hunahpu Imperial Stout and is held every March.
2. Concrete Beach Brewery
Concrete Beach Brewery is a project from A&S Brewing (also referred to as Alchemy & Science), a subsidiary of Boston Beer Company that invests in other craft breweries or builds new ones. Concrete Beach is an example of the latter. Concrete Beach began brewing in April 2015 and opened its social hall a month later. Alan Newman, who cofounded Vermont's Magic Hat Brewing Company, launched A&S in 2011 with the help of friend and Boston Beer cofounder Jim Koch.
3. Fat Point Brewing
Fat Point Brewing is located in Punta Gorda and opened its taproom in 2015. Two years later, according to the News-Press, it became part of fellow Florida craft brewery Big Storm, which opened in 2012 and has several locations in the Clearwater area.
4. Florida Beer Company
Florida Beer Company debuted in 1996 as Indian River Brewing Company. In 2003, the brewery reorganized and changed its name to the current one. In 2016, the brewery was acquired by the Trinidad-based conglomerate ANSA McAL, which owns Carib Brewery.
5. Veza Sur Brewing Company
Veza Sur Brewing Company, one of Miami's newest craft breweries, is owned by AB-InBev. Veza Sur is a partnership between Berny Silberwasser of Colombia's Bogota Beer Company and brothers Jeremy and Chris Cox of Oregon's 10 Barrel Brewing, both of which are also owned by AB-InBev. Announcement of Veza Sur's opening came in April. The "boutique" brewery with a Latin American twist will be located at 55 NW 25th St. in Wynwood.
6. Wynwood Brewing Company
Wynwood Brewing Company opened its doors in 2013. The brewery has outgrown its 15-barrel brewhouse, and to accommodate a much-needed expansion, WBC announced a partnership with the Craft Brew Alliance (CBA) in December 2016. The CBA is a Portland, Oregon-based publicly traded brewing company that owns breweries such as Widmer Brothers, Redhook Ale, and Kona. With the partnership, Wynwood Brewing gains access to the company's distribution networks and production facilities, and CBA receives a 24.5 percent stake in WBC. AB-InBev owns approximately 32.2 percent of the CBA as of 2010.
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