To a craft beer aficionado, the only sin worse than drinking a Bud would be if your favorite brewery sold out to the company that owns it. That's the situation that has fans of the Wicked Weed brewery now crying "treachery," per the Washington Post, which reports on the news that the Asheville, NC, institution has teamed up with Anheuser-Busch InBev "as a strategic partner." The reason for the move by Wicked Weed—which the Citizen-Times notes was founded in 2012 by Walt and Luke Dickinson and friends Ryan, Rick, and Denise Guthy—is, as Walt Dickinson explains, to stay competitive. A fellow craft brewery owner in Oregon backs him up, noting that his own brewery's acquisition by AB InBev offered him access to better ingredients and distribution.
But the buyout has craft beer fans livid, especially after Budweiser's 2015 and 2016 Super Bowl ads that mocked craft beer drinkers. Wicked Weed's Facebook announcement was met with angry and sad emoji, with "very disappointed" and "disheartened" just a sampling of the negative comments. Some of Wicked Weed's distributors and partners aren't happy, either, with Denver's Black Project brewery cutting its ties to WW—not because it doesn't love the beer, but because it believes AB InBev has "unethical practices" and "intends to systematically destroy American craft beer as we know it." Other commenters on Wicked Weed's Facebook page say they will remain loyal fans. "At the end of the day, great beer will win," Walt Dickinson tells the Citizen-Times. (Walmart recently took heat on the craft beer front.)