Anheuser-Busch InBev, the second-largest beer distributor in the U.S., is expanding its Colorado footprint.
The brewery announced Tuesday its purchase of Loveland-based American Eagle Distributing Co., as well as portions of another Colorado beer distributor, Standard Sales Company.
“Many factors made this transaction align with our strategy, after learning of American Eagle’s interest in selling and Standard Sales’ interest in exchanging operations,” Bob Tallett, vice president of business and wholesaler development for A-B, stated in a press release.
Standard Sales exchanged its Littleton, Pueblo and Colorado Springs distributorships for Anheuser Busch’s Kentucky territories. Earlier this year, Kentucky liquor law changed, leaving Anheuser-Busch and any out-of-state brewery unable to own a distributorship there.
“After a significant evaluation of options, we agreed to exchange territory with Standard Sales as the best path forward for our employees and operations in Kentucky,” Tallett said.
“We are pleased that Standard Sales expressed interest in a mutually-beneficial agreement and we look forward to having our employees in Kentucky meet with them soon.”
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It is unclear how business will be affected for former A-B Kentucky employees as well as for employees previously of Standard Sales and American Eagle in Colorado.
Also unclear is how the acquisitions will affect the Colorado craft beer industry.
Following the completed transactions, which will take place in September and October, Anheuser-Busch distributing will cover a large swath of the eastern half of the state, stretching from Wyoming to New Mexico.
Previously Anheuser-Busch Denver controlled distribution of a relatively small territory surrounding the state’s capital city.
Russell Fruits is vice president of Loveland’s Grimm Brothers Brewhouse. Grimm Brothers is currently distributed in Northern Colorado by American Eagle, along with other craft brands such as Great Divide, Epic, Breckenridge and Odell.
Fruits said that “it’s too early to tell” what will happen to craft brewers like him under an A-B-owned distribution.
He was awaiting a meeting Thursday to discuss specifics, but said, “just based on how other A-B owned distributors are run and managed, it probably means quite a few changes.”
Julie Sexton- The Coloradoan