Another Brick In The Wall – Anheuser-Busch InBev Buys Stake In RateBeer

If you had any doubt that AB InBev intends to get its long and considerably well-funded fingers into just about every aspect of the craft beer biz, think again. Trust us, their craft beer buying spree is far from over and we’re going to see more beloved names the caliber of Wicked Weed, fall to the global giant this year.

But it’s also the left-of-center acquisition plays that AB InBev has been making, which speaks to their unannounced intention to control as many aspects of the global beer industry as possible, that gives us pause.

We took notice when Ab InBev’s ominously tagged “global disruptive growth group,” ZX Ventures, invested in Northern Brewer, a major e-commerce homebrewing supply company last year.

And things got even more interesting when word spread in January that ZX would  be involved in funding a new young-end Conde Nast publication called October that they hoped would speak to “a new generation of beer drinkers”…  

So when the excellent Good Beer Hunting broke the story that  Anheuser-Busch InBev Acquires Minority Stake in RateBeer, we can’t say we were entirely surprised…

So as it stands now, AB InBev is controlling 10 significant craft beer properties in the states alone, a major homebrewing ecommerce platform, a soon to debut beer publication and now RateBeer, one of the most popular and reputable beer ratings and resource websites in the world.

Clearly global domination is on AB InBev’s agenda. And unfortunately they’re well-funded, strategic and brutally effective at what they do…

Yesterday, RateBeer’s owner Joseph Tucker, Issued the following statement concerning the partial acquisition …

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RateBeer Investment Announcement!

Today, my wife Jen and I are feeling great hope for the RateBeer community I’ve been carefully stewarding for more than a decade and a half. With the contributions of so many great people around the globe, our tiny company has helped change the world of beer through our humble and diligent commitment to serving the whole world beer community. We’re proud of our accomplishments, to have helped so many small breweries and beer retailers receive the spotlight they deserved and are so grateful for all the wonderful people, places and experiences that tending the site over these many years has provided us.

Today we’re announcing that ZX Ventures has purchased a minority investment in RateBeer. The focus of the agreement was on maintaining RateBeer’s value as an unbiased beer authority, retaining our operational independence, informing a whole new group of global consumers and keeping them excited about the beer.  

Many people are probably surprised that our modest little company would be of interest to ZX Ventures, AB InBev’s tech-friendly growth division. We were definitely surprised too. There are few suitable companions for a very unique company like ours, a small niche tech-driven online publisher, and far fewer still in a position to not only buy in but also expand our scope and vision.

One of the greatest challenges I’ve had in choosing this magical life for myself as a developer of an online community has been the monstrous amount of work I’d signed on to, and that the site required, day and night, every day of the year. As the site’s only full time employee, this has meant I’ve always been on call. I love RateBeer dearly and I love my work, but it’s been really nice not staying up all night working on servers! It’s with relief and gratitude that the site has finally received the resources and infrastructure it needs to move forward and develop for the coming technical challenges and opportunities. I’ve never been more excited about RateBeer’s future and our ability to achieve new heights.

Most everyone who is close to the site and involved our community knows that we’ve tried to address our resource issues in a number of creative ways over the years. We’ve also looked at a variety of potential partners and found ZX was our best choice. Their comfort with technology, existing tech resources, beer loving culture, enthusiasm and respect for the community, an understanding of varied beer cultures globally, the stability of their company and dedication to preserving our independence made ZX the very best fit. I know this is surprising to many out there, but I’m confident I made the best possible decision.

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