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Anheuser-Busch Buys Colorado's Breckenridge Brewery

Over the past year, more than a dozen craft brewers have been gobbled up, either by larger breweries, corporate breweries, European interests or private-equity investors. And there is more — much more — on the way. Up until last week — when we posted our list of Ten Colorado Breweries That Would Make Good Buyout Targets — there hadn't been much action in this state. But this morning, we learned that one of our hypothetical targets has just been purchased, so here we go....

Turns out that Anheuser-Busch will acquire one of Colorado's oldest and more storied breweries, Breckenridge Brewery, which was founded in its namesake town in 1990. It's the latest craft-brewery purchase by the aggressive international beer conglomerate, and the first in Colorado. Here's the announcement, jointly issued by Anheuser-Busch and Breckenridge:

NEW YORK and LITTLETON, Colo., Dec. 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Anheuser-Busch today announced it will acquire Colorado-based Breckenridge Brewery. With this agreement, Breckenridge Brewery is the seventh craft brewery to join The High End, Anheuser-Busch's business unit of craft and import brands.

"We're excited about the partnership and have been encouraged to continue on our path and become more innovative moving forward," said Todd Usry, President of Breckenridge Brewery. "I'm a believer in what The High End is focused on accomplishing and we are flattered that our team was chosen to help guide that journey. We're looking forward to utilizing resources like decades of research and brewing expertise as we continue to create new beers."

Available in 35 states, Breckenridge Brewery will sell approximately 70,000 barrels of beer in 2015. The new brewery and Farm House restaurant in Littleton have positioned the brewery for future growth. The brewery will continue to make its unique portfolio of beers – ranging from their Vanilla Porter, to Agave Wheat, to their core brands, seasonal specialties and barrel-aged beers.

"Breckenridge Brewery has a long history of innovation and they continue to brew new and exciting beers, from their specialty brews like the Mountain Series that celebrates the brewery's origin as a ski town brewpub, to their planned nitro can series," said Andy Goeler, CEO, Craft, The High End. "They are innovative and have built an amazing business that's enabled them to get their great beers to fans across the country. We look forward to even more growth together."

Breckenridge Brewery will join Goose Island Beer Company, Blue Point Beer Company, 10 Barrel Brewing, Elysian Brewing Company, Golden Road Brewing and Four Peaks Brewing Company as part of The High End's craft beer portfolio.

The partnership includes the company's new production brewery and Farm House restaurant in Littleton, and original brewpub and current innovation center in the mountain town of Breckenridge.

The current management group, Breckenridge-Wynkoop, will continue to own and operate its remaining businesses including: Ale House at Amato's in Denver; Breckenridge Ale House in Grand Junction; Breckenridge Colorado Craft in Denver; The Cherry Cricket in Denver; Mainline in Fort Collins; Phantom Canyon Brewing Co. in Colorado Springs; and Wynkoop Brewing Company in Denver.

Anheuser-Busch's partnership with Breckenridge Brewery is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016, subject to customary closing conditions. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

First Beverage Group acted as financial advisor to Breckenridge Brewery, and Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP provided legal counsel.

About Breckenridge Brewery
Breckenridge Brewery, based in Littleton, Colo. and founded in 1990, is known for creating balanced, approachable and interesting hand-crafted beers. The original recipes – and a handful of seasonal creations – are hand-crafted at the company's Colorado-based production brewery in Littleton, and brewpub in Breckenridge, and also available in 35 states across the country. For more information, visit www.breckbrew.com or be social at fb.com/BreckenridgeBrewery and @BreckBrew on Instagram and Twitter.

About Anheuser-Busch
For more than 160 years, Anheuser-Busch and its world-class brewmasters have carried on a legacy of brewing America's most-popular beers. Starting with the finest ingredients sourced from Anheuser-Busch's family of growers, every batch is crafted using the same exacting standards and time-honored traditions passed down through generations of proud Anheuser-Busch brewmasters and employees. Best known for its fine American-style lagers, Budweiser and Bud Light, the company's beers lead numerous beer segments. Budweiser and Bud Light Lime Lime-A-Rita were named Brands of the Year for the Beer and the Spirits, Malt Beverages and Wine categories, respectively, by Ace Metrix® in 2014. Anheuser-Busch is the U.S. arm of Anheuser-Busch InBev and operates 17 local breweries, 21 distributorships and 23 agricultural and packaging facilities across the United States. Its flagship brewery remains in St. Louis, Mo., and is among the global company's largest and most technologically capable breweries. Visitor and special beermaster tours are available at its St. Louis and five other Anheuser-Busch breweries. For more information, visit www.anheuser-busch.com.

About The High End
The High End is a business unit of Anheuser-Busch, created to provide its unique craft and European import brands with autonomy and support for growth, while fostering a collaborative environment for the brightest brewers in the beer community. The High End brings dedicated resources to support the growth of its brands, create successful partnerships and deliver more variety to consumers. Established now, The High End includes brands such as Stella Artois and Shock Top, along with craft breweries Goose Island, Blue Point, 10 Barrel, Elysian and Golden Road.

We'll offer updates on the deal as details become available.

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