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Anheuser-Busch Buys Blue Point Brewing Company

The largest craft brewer on Long Island is being sold to beer giant.

Blue Point Brewing Company is currently the 34th largest craft brewery in the U.S. (Patch file photo)
Blue Point Brewing Company is currently the 34th largest craft brewery in the U.S. (Patch file photo)

Blue Point Brewing Company is being sold to Anheuser-Busch, according to a statement released by both companies Wednesday. 

Terms of the deals, expected to close within the next few months, were not released, but Blue Point's operations will continue to be based in Patchogue, the companies said.  

"We are deeply grateful to our family of loyal employees and customers," said Peter Cotter, who co-founded Blue Point with Mark Burford in 1998. "Our success was made possible by the hard work of good people and good beer in Patchogue."

Blue Point, ranked among the top-50 craft brewing companies in the country by the Brewers Association, produces more than 40 beers and its sales, currently concentrated on the East Coast, may get a big boost with the backing of St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch. 

"As we welcome Blue Point into the Anheuser-Busch family of brands, we look forward to working with Mark and Peter to accelerate the growth of the Blue Point portfolio and expand to new markets, while preserving the heritage and innovation of the brands," Anheuser-Busch CEO Luiz Edmond said. 

Anheuser-Busch said it "plans to invest in the brewery to grow its operational capabilities and enhance the consumer experience over the next few years."

Blue Point will not be the only craft brewer in Anheuser-Busch's portfolio. Among other craft beers it owns, the company purchased Chicago's Goose Island brand in 2011. 

Following the Goose Island sale, Blue Point poked fun at craft brewers being sold to major corporations by posting an April Fool's joke on its website saying the company was being sold to MillerCoors. In it, Cotter jokes that Blue Point would soon begin producing a BP Lite Lime IPA.  

The last line of the joke reads: "Everyone at Blue Point Brewing Company would like you to have a happy April Fools' Day! Blue Point Brewing Company––independently owned with no corporate ties. Ever."

Major brewing companies have been snapping up craft breweries in recent years as craft beer sales have exploded across the country.

Burford said the sale will allow Blue Point "the resources to create new and exciting beers and share our portfolio with even more beer lovers."

Greenport Harbor Brewing Company, another Long Island craft brewer, posted the following message on its Facebook page Wednesday morning:

"No one has contributed more and worked harder to promote Long Island craft beer than Mark and Pete. Their success is well deserved and we congratulate them. We do hope that as the brands get absorbed in to the A-B InBev world that the investment in the beer and the brewery is focused on Long Island. Where it all started. Cheers."

What are your thoughts on the sale? Sound off in the comments section below. 

C O February 06, 2014 at 06:42 PM
Hahahaha we are talking beer and....well were kind of talking beer and you just chimed in with will the 10 mile hamster wheel go on next year? I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that it definitely will. Next year and every day between now and then. Unless there is a new law that keeps you from walking out your front door and running as far as you would like. Run Forest....right out of this post please.
Hipockets February 06, 2014 at 07:49 PM
Can we get off this A Busch/ Blue point beer thing ? It's getting real old !!!
Ivan Ivanovich February 06, 2014 at 09:17 PM
Tastes great!
Ivan Ivanovich February 06, 2014 at 09:18 PM
Less filling
Ivan Ivanovich February 06, 2014 at 09:19 PM
It's buschs fault
Al 17 February 07, 2014 at 09:12 AM
CO, You are correct about the limited release comment. What I meant and should have said was limited production. But that's the only thing you said that was correct. I won't bother to try, yet again, to help you understand the flaws in your argument as clearly your capacity to understand is as limited as the Alchemist's IPA PRODUCTION (see how I highlighted that for you?) I initially remarked that your comment had an air of arrogance and snobbery to it and your subsequent responses not only towards me but others as well proved my assumption to be correct. But that's your burden in life, not mine. Good luck with being confused and disliked in your life. Not that you need it. I think you've kind of mastered that. P.S You can go ahead and make another snarky comment as is your way. Just know that while you pump your fist in the air and do a little congratulatory dance in front of the mirror, I will not respond. You'll never know if I read it or not. You can assume I did, since your so big on assumptions, but you'll never be certain. Perhaps one day you'll come to understand the significance of my silence although I doubt it. Here's a hint: How do you keep an idiot in suspense?....
F.O'Munny February 07, 2014 at 09:46 AM
i will miss the Hoptical Illusion! Once AB gets its dirty hands on this manufacturing I'd bet they taper down such brews that offer any resemblence to something that creates an illusion!
billr February 07, 2014 at 10:26 AM
The bottom line is that Blue Point make many very good beers. If AB continues to brew on LI (and even increases production on LI) and does not change the recipe for the beers by substituting lesser quality ingredients then it shouldn't matter who owns the brewery. It might make for lower prices. However, I do not trust AB and hope they do not take a craft beer success story and destroy the brand but their track record is not promising
highhatsize February 07, 2014 at 10:45 AM
Carlos Brito, the CEO of AB InBev, makes money by acquisition and merger, not by making beer. (He worked at Shell Oil and Daimler-Benz before AB InBev.) He's an acquisitions specialist and the company bottom line is driven by cost-cutting profitable acquired brands of good repute. There is no chance that Blue Point will maintain a presence in Patchogue. Following corporate policy, AB InBev will close local premises and relocate management and brewing to St. Louis. Within six months, Blue Point will be but a memory in Patchogue.
brookhavenconfucius February 07, 2014 at 11:06 AM
YAAAY ! We need MORE Carlos Brito's for Long Island !
C O February 07, 2014 at 11:59 AM
AL 17: As you read this I am pumping my fist in the air while looking in the mirror... At a bar with a freshly poured craft beer that you know nothing about right in front of me, having a great laugh with the friends at my side at you and your pathetic attempt at a rebuttal. The only burden in my life AL are people like you. People who are so weak they cannot even learn from the strong. You have been a stepping stone your whole life and will continue to be. That response was the only option you had at this point. Last act of a desperate man. I know you will read this because your life consists of nothing else. Your welcome for the interaction I know you needed it. Al 17 here is your score: .25 A: A weak head with a dim pale color if any, translucent. Minimal carbonation. S: Damp basement with a hint of mothballs and subtle notes of mommy. T: ..tasteless. M: Thin, frail, and little. O: Nothing worth revisiting. Easily forgettable. Footnote: I would say see you around town for a beer but your the guy who makes eye contact with no one...the guy who's best friend is the ground he stares at all day...scared of his own shadow...alone....unnoticed. Get out and see the world AL. You would be surprised at what awaits you and how much you can learn from just a few simple interactions. Then during your next discussion you may be able to speak from experience.
Judy Pepenella February 07, 2014 at 01:30 PM
@billr & @ highhatsize both of you are spot on. The purchase of BP is just a business venture for AB. Their next decisions will not include the personal consideration of locals and their interest in specific beer blend. Their next decisions will be about their bottom line costs ... staying here or consolidating production into their existing locations. I suspect the latter. My concern remains for the employees here locally...and their bottom line.
mary ann February 08, 2014 at 11:23 AM
DON'T KNOW THE PEOPLE INVOLVED BUT WISH TO EXTEND MY CONGRATULATIONS!!! :-)
highhatsize February 08, 2014 at 01:16 PM
One journalist remarked that as Carlos Brito was running out of breweries to acquire (AB InBev already has 25% of the global market), one might think that he would now have to learn to make money from producing tasty beer rather than from financial legerdemain. However, the reporter pointed out that the whole world of soft drinks was still open to Carlos and that AB InBev has its sights set on Pepisco now.
Archie Bunker February 08, 2014 at 02:37 PM
Just tried the Spring Fling Ale last night for the first time. Very malty with excellent caramel flavor and remarkably smooth for an ale.
Sean Hassett February 10, 2014 at 01:46 AM
I have rarely seen a story on Patch generate so many comments! It's amazing how much a guy can be disturbed by any threat to his beer. The first time I tried BP Toasted Lager, I was so surprised at how good it was. I'm really an ale drinker and hardly ever touch lagers, but this was great. My favorite from BP is Hoptical Illusion IPA. On Friday's on my way home from work, I like to get one at Penn Station for the train ride home. I enjoy many beers. Part of the reason I like to buy Hoptical Illusion is that it's a local beer. If that changes, then I will be more inclined to buy other beers.
John Bogack February 11, 2014 at 07:44 AM
24,000,0000 is what they sold their company for as per Trustee Devlin last night. I was at the meeting last night when Trustee Devlin congratulated the owners on their sale. She also indicated that the previous owners will stay on as managers of the brewery. I have to say that is some haul. Would be nice if the 25 workers who helped make that possible were recognized by the owners with a performance bonus let's call it of 25,000 a piece for their contribution to the great beers produced that resulted in a windfall for its owners.
John Bogack February 11, 2014 at 07:46 AM
That was twenty four million I was trying to spell.
C O February 11, 2014 at 08:24 AM
I was thinking the same thing John. I wonder if they took care of the little people who made it possible. I don't know them well but the owners never seemed like the kind of guys that wouldn't take care of their employees. I hope I'm right and they did.
Carol Reitz-Butler February 11, 2014 at 10:53 AM
If there is one thing I have learned in my lifetime it is that you can't count other people's money. There are always factors unknown to the casual observer, and appearances can be deceiving. That being said, and not that it's ANYONE's business but the owners, consider this: The proceeds will be split between the shareholders. We don't really know who the shareholders are, everyone assumes it's only the 2 owners, but I know I, for one, don't know. There may or not be investors. The IRS will gobble up it's lion's share, as will fees for legal representation during what I'm sure were lengthy negotiations. Ditto accountants' fees. I doubt anyone commenting here has any idea how much debt this company has, but that will have be paid by proceeds as well. There may be mortgages and leases on expensive equipment that will have to be satisfied. There is also the owners' initial investment to be considered Insofar as employees' compensation is concerned, anything they get is a GIFT. They did not put their life savings out there, nor put in the kinds of hours and sacrifice the owners did, They signed up for a job and a salary, and that's what they got.That's what capitalism means, folks. You're also assuming all the employees were model workers (Full disclosure, I don't know any of them, maybe they were). My experience with workers here in town ( although I had a few VERY good ones), was a constant battle with absenteeism, obstinance and theft. The owners are very young families with school age children who have had no pensions or benefits for the past 15 years that they didn't pay themselves out of pocket. They face long lifetimes (one would hope) during which they will continue to face ever-escalating expenses like college tuition, retirement etc. Once the chip-away process starts, $24m will be little more than a nice cushion
John Bogack February 11, 2014 at 11:26 AM
Thanks Carol for your insights. I can't disagree with any of them because as you say no one really knows all. I must say however I was almost moved to consider organizing a collection for the owners as it appeared that even with 24 million they might still need some more money to get by. I still like my idea better. I proposed that the owners reward their employees for their good work with bonuses that would amount to just a bit more than one percent of their gross cash out. Of course they are not required by law or our economic system to give those workers one extra cent if they do not feel like it. But maybe a sense of mutual loyalty and decency might move them to consider doing so. Of course in the end their conscience must be their guide and that is something for them alone to decide.
Frank T February 11, 2014 at 11:43 AM
According to Carol's math and pseudo economics the owners lost money in this deal! Most likely AB assumes the debt of the company. If the owners have debt in their name than it's their responsibility. After taxes, legal and accounting fees the owners should net over $15,000,000. That should cover college tuition unless they have 75 children.
C O February 11, 2014 at 12:02 PM
As much as I agree with carol it's assumptions all around. All of are assuming. But the comments in regards to the way AB has handled other acquisitions and what those acquisitions did to the product I feel are made with prior experiences at least.
John Bogack February 11, 2014 at 12:25 PM
CO and others here are some links to net articles. One is about what happened to Goose Island beers after AB took over that craft brewery. The news is hopeful actually. Look for the article titled “how Goose Island held onto its craft beer cred”. At: www.chicagobusiness.com › Home › This Week's Crain's › News If the above does not come up as a hyperlink then paste the address into your search bar. That should work. Plus did some research on AB. It is BIG BEER. I was very surprised to see how big this company is way beyond my image as the owner of Bud: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anheiser-busch.
Carol Reitz-Butler February 13, 2014 at 09:52 AM
Frank, Your assessment of my intelligence ( or lack of it) must be correct, as I am very confused by your post. I fail to see anything in my post that says the owners of BPB lost money. And....I must ask : Won't the IRS take a big share? And aren't there attorney's fees to be paid ? Won't the accountants need to be paid as well? If there are investors, don't they have to be paid? Have you ever sold a business? I have, and just recently, so I suspect I have a little more relevant experience in this. I had to pay all the debts of my corporation, as well as any and all personal guarantees from the proceeds of the sale. I suspect that is the case in this transaction as well, especially in regard to personal guarantees. I lost money in my business.....do my former employees owe me money? Just asking, especially since many of them cost me money (either through theft, breakage or negilgence) far beyond what I paid them.
Frank T February 13, 2014 at 12:12 PM
Carol, I didn't question your intelligence. I just think that your calculation of expenses that the owners bear were exaggerated. Even if they lose half to taxes and other fees they still end up with 12 million dollars. This is much more than a "little cushion". In addition they were hired by AB to run the new business. By the time they retire that little cushion, if invested wisely, will be worth 10's of millions of dollars.
Archie Bunker February 13, 2014 at 03:29 PM
We are talking beer here not crappy cupcakes
Carol Reitz-Butler February 13, 2014 at 04:53 PM
My cupcakes were meant for more discerning palates, Mr Bunker, not that you would know as I'm sure you were never in my store. I love mean-spirited comments made behind pseudonyms, they truly bespeak cowardice.
Elizabeth K February 13, 2014 at 08:54 PM
Mr Bunker is hilarious!!!!
Elizabeth K February 13, 2014 at 08:55 PM
Thx for the beer review.

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