Anheuser-Busch buys Wicked Weed Brewing

Asheville's Wicked HIGH END: Weed Brewing will become part of Anheuser-Busch's The High End unit, which focuses on craft and import brands. Photo courtesy of Wicked Weed

Asheville’s highly regarded Wicked Weed Brewing is being purchased by Anheuser-Busch, the global brewer that makes such products as Budweiser and Bud Light. It’s the first Asheville brewer to sell to a major international company and the latest craft brand purchased by A-B.

The news was announced Wednesday morning via a press release from Wicked Weed and Anheuser-Busch.  The deal is “subject to regulatory approval,” according to the statement. No financial or operational details were released, including purchase price.

Wicked Weed will join The High End, Anheuser-Busch’s craft beer and import division, the release said. In a statement, Wicked Weed brewer Walt Dickinson said the deal will give “our team more resources to continue innovating our portfolio and the ability to reach more craft drinkers, allowing us to keep putting the beer and the people first.”

Since opening in 2012, Wicked Weed has become one of Asheville’s fastest-growing, high-profile brewers, turning out hops-forward ales, open-fermented, Belgian-inspired brews and barrel-aged beers. The brews have won many prizes, including gold and silver medals at the Great American Beer Festival.

In Asheville, Wicked Weed operates from its original Biltmore Avenue restaurant and brewery as well as from its Funkatorium barrel house on Coxe Avenue in the South Slope brewing district. The brewery also added a 50-barrel production brewery off Sand Hill Road and a facility in Arden dedicated to making sour and wild beers. Wicked Weed is owned by the brothers Walt and Luke Dickinson and Rick, Denise and Ryan Guthy.

Anheuser-Busch is a subsidiary of the Belgian-based A-B InBev. The global brewer’s High End unit controls such craft and import brands as Stella Artois and Shock Top, Goose Island, Blue Point, 10 Barrel, Elysian, Golden Road, Breckenridge Brewery, Devils Backbone and more.


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About Tony Kiss
Tony Kiss covers brewing news for the Xpress. He has been reporting on the Carolina beer scene since 1994. He's also covered distilling and cider making and spent 30 years reporting on area entertainment. Follow me @BeerguyTK

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22 thoughts on “Anheuser-Busch buys Wicked Weed Brewing

  1. Asheville Native

    The reaction from some locals concerning this is laughable. It’s only beer, people.

  2. Chris Hughes

    Why would a craft brewery sell out to the very business who spends millions of dollars fighting legislature meant to help craft breweries? Of course I know the answer to my own question…money over morality. I cant support a brewery who is in bed with the people fighting to prevent the growth of our true local breweries and their livelihood. Bye Wicked Greed.

  3. cecil bothwell

    There are a lot of us who prefer to keep money in the local economy. Hats off to the founders who have cashed in, but I won’t be darkening Wicked’s door again.

  4. Don

    Hesitant to admit this -lol- but I drink a bit more than my fair share of beer…. craft brews only…. craft brews not owned by Anheuser-Busch or some hedgefund that is. Never went in the Wicked Weed brewery I have to say…. too way over the top hipster ridiculous (think a pint of a fruit loops sour saison at 9plus percent alcohol for a mere 9 dollars). Sincerely hoping Anheuser-Busch moves the whole operation elsewhere….. bye!!!

  5. Bright

    No…print it correctly, “Wicked Weed Sells Out To Anheuser-Busch.” Another one bites the dust, mentality-wise, and another sadness for Asheville.

  6. For a good laugh, read the Wicked Weed press release. Doesn’t have the words bought or sold but loves the word partnership. It isn’t a partnership. You sold out.

  7. David

    Corporate beer is a behemoth that for decades dumbed down beer drinkers’ tastes and denigrated women through their advertisements and Propaganda. Homebrewers and small brewers honed their craft for the LOVE of it, not for the money, making them Pure. Weed sold out to the Devil, which shouldn’t be a surprise since the owners sold their former business. Weed is no longer LOCAL, everything AVL’s citizenry stand for. Support WW and you support a global gorilla. Let’s just call them the Robert Johnson Brewing Co from now on.

  8. Deplorable Infidel

    I have never stepped foot in that joint as the mega millionaire Rich Guthy took a lot of taxpayer money from taxpayers for seed start up and got their Candler bldg for a song thanks to county commission cronyism. I despise that place AND the operators AND the county commissioners for STEALING from US! SHAME on ALL of them!

  9. Deplorable Infidel

    Time for beer event protests on certain weekends to explain reasons to the touristas not to go there ? Come on people, now THIS is something that needs ongoing protests and we all know how you people love great protests~! Right? get to it! how bout a sign making party ?

  10. Deplorable Infidel

    Hey WW, after you get paid millions, why not reimburse Dumbcombe County what you owe us ? ? ?

  11. Don

    from the Associated Press site today…… pretty much says it all. Again, as per my previous missive…. BYE Wicked…. have fun….. good riddance ;)

    Asked whether any production could shift to Anheuser Busch facilities outside North Carolina, Dickinson said it’s a “very real possibility,” and he wouldn’t be worried about quality declining.

    The North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild announced that the Asheville brewer would no longer be a voting member, adding it was “disheartened” by the sale. Craft brewers Jester King Brewery in Texas and Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales in Colorado said they were backing out of joint projects with Wicked Weed.

    “We truly believe that ABinBev intends to systematically destroy American craft beer as we know it,” said Black Project’s James and Sarah Howat in a blog post.

    Brawley’s Beverage in Charlotte was among the stores and restaurants that said they would stop selling Wicked Weed.

    “If we continue to buy those brands then we tacitly approve of Budweiser’s attempt to buy out their competition and use that competition by dropping the prices to hammer my friends’ brewery,” owner Michael Brawley said. “We don’t have a choice.”

    Still, Brawley said he’s been getting calls from Wicked Weed drinkers who are mostly interested in buying the beer on the cheap through his fire sale.

    “These greedy little people are more worried about getting Wicked Weed at a discount,” he said.

    • I hope those “greedy little people” don’t darken Brawley’s doors. There are over 3000 breweries in the US and thousands more on the way. Only a fool would try to buy out the competition and AB isn’t foolish. Plenty of breweries for everyone to find one they like—-philosophy and brew.

  12. dyfed

    I can’t say I’m surprised; Wicked Weed was a slick, well-financed operation from beginning to end, and it never quite had the feel of ‘passion project’ to me.

    That said, they have brewed some fine beers and served some sandwiches that weren’t half bad.

    Even though my taste in beer is a little stuck-up, and I heavily prefer crafts, I’m not going to pretend that there haven’t been some big-name beers in my fridge. I probably won’t cross the street to avoid Wicked Weed, but I’m not as interested in patronizing their establishments as I was before this happened, mostly because it feels like my cash will pad A.-B. InBev’s legal coffers, which frequently are emptied into legislatures to pass laws restraining the free trade of goods.

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