c-brand-RTR2H092-Toby Melville

As more craft breweries open in the UK, mega-brewers reach for their wallets

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Last year, 520 breweries opened for business in the UK, up from 336 in 2015.

Published   |  Photo by Reuters/Toby Melville
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Entrepreneurs are encouraged by growing sales and tax breaks, the popularity of brands like BrewDog, and the increasing number of craft beer millionaires.

Independent brewers are getting rich by selling their brand to conglomerates.

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In 2015, SABMiller bought London-based Meantime Brewing Company for £120 million ($155 million).

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Reuters/Stefan Wermuth

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Threatened by craft breweries—which sell well even at premium prices—beer giants either clone or buy them.

Conglomerates, used to making purchases in the US, are buying small breweries in the UK and more recently in China. AB InBev already acquired nine craft beer brands.

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AB InBev’s craft beer portfolio includes Goose Island, Blue Point, Golden Road, and Devils Backbone, among others.

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Reuters/Brendan McDermid

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Though it makes shareholders happy, these acquisitions leave some craft beer fans disappointed.

Following AB InBev’s purchase of Elysian Brewing Company in 2015, visitors would buy beers in their pub in Seattle and throw them on the floor, before leaving in search of a “real craft beer.”

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