In kind of a shocking move, Chicago’s Goose Island was acquired by Anheuser‑Busch today. The world’s largest brewery now has a 58 percent equity stake in the Chicago-based company, which was first opened in 1988. We’ll be honest and admit that our initial reaction was one of terror. Goose Island has expanded its artisanal brews lately, and has partnered up with chefs for a series of great house brews. But founder John Hall will remain as CEO of the company, and he claims that the deal will “preserve the qualities that make Goose Island’s beers unique, strictly maintain our recipes and brewing processes.” So why did they make the deal?
The big reason was that the company was expanding too quickly. In February, Goose Island announced that they were outsourcing some of their production to a company in New Hampshire. So the big upside is that the company will get $1.3 million to increase production at its Fulton Street brewery. That ultimately means that more beer will be brewed in Chicago, and that they’ll have the ability to try even more kinds of specialty beers. Of course, we’ll have to wait to see whether this ends up being as good of a deal as the press release claims. Still, it is good to know that the two Goose Island brew pubs are not included in this deal.
Updated: Today Goose Island also announced a new brewmaster, Brett Porter. He will replace Greg Hall, who will move into more of a consulting roll. According to this press release, he’ll advise Goose Island “on strategic direction, beer styles, marketing and brand positioning. ” Porter was the Head Brewer at Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon for five years.