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Wicked Weed Sold To Anheuser-Busch InBev & What The Reaction Reveals About Asheville

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Wicked Weed of Asheville announced this week it was being sold to brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev, which owns such brands as Budweiser, Corona, and Stella Artois.  The company has been purchasing small craft breweries in recent years, creating "The High End" business unit for such brands.  In a statement announcing the sale, Wicked Weed co-founder Walt Dickinson called it an "exciting time for the entire brewing team. Our ability to create a wide range of really well executed beers that are focused on creativity, quality and drinkability is what makes Wicked Weed great. We have chosen to partner with The High End to position ourselves to make Wicked Weed what we imagined it could be when we first sat at a craft beer bar and talked about opening a brewery. As a brewer, giving our team more resources to continue innovating our portfolio and the ability to reach more craft drinkers, allows us to keep putting the beer and the people first.”

Swift reaction to the sale came here in Asheville and from other craft brewers.  Two breweries - Jester King of Austin, Texas and Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales of Denver, Colorado - both announced they would end partnerships they had with Wicked Weed, with the latter calling Anheuser-Busch InBev "predatory" and intending to "destroy American craft brewing as we know it."  Other breweries have decided not to participate in Wicked Weed's Funkatorium Invitational this July.  The North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild announced Wicked Weed is no longer a voting member of the organization.  In Asheville, Beer City U.S.A., social media chatter has focused on what the decision means for the city's dearly held craft brewing scene and it's overall culture.  Jason Sandford of Ashvegas joined BPR's Matt Bush to discuss how the reaction to Wicked Weed's sale reveals Asheville's culture, values, and anxiety.

Matt Bush joined Blue Ridge Public Radio as news director in August 2016. Excited at the opportunity the build up the news service for both stations as well as help launch BPR News, Matt made the jump to Western North Carolina from Washington D.C. For the 8 years prior to coming to Asheville, he worked at the NPR member station in the nation's capital as a reporter and anchor. Matt primarily covered the state of Maryland, including 6 years of covering the statehouse in Annapolis. Prior to that, he worked at WMAL in Washington and Metro Networks in Pittsburgh, the city he was born and raised in.