The famous beer platform RateBeer.com, which publishes annual lists of the best beers and breweries, is now partly owned by AB InBev. This does not sit well with a number of smaller companies.
Deal raises eyebrows
The world’s largest beer brewer bought a minority stake in RateBeer.com through its investment firm ZX Ventures after an alleged eight months of negotiations. Apparently, the transaction took place last October, but remained under wraps until now. It is not clear how much AB InBev paid for the deal.
When the news was revealed on several American news sites several days ago, plenty of people raised their eyebrows. Particularly smaller breweries, which may own their fame to the popular website’s ratings, were not very pleased.
CEO Joe Tucker quickly responded to clarify why he chose ZX Ventures. “Their comfort with technology, existing tech resources, beer loving culture, enthusiasm and respect for the community, an understanding of varied beer cultures globally, the stability of their company and dedication to preserving our independence made ZX the very best fit”, he wrote. “I know this is surprising to many out there, but I’m confident I made the best possible decision.”
Not everyone agrees: the website’s members have asked critical questions about the Belgian-Brazilian brewer’s influence and several smaller breweries have already asked RateBeer.com to remove their beers from the site. According to business paper De Tijd, Brussels-based beer brewer Cantillon also asked the site to do that.