It was announced earlier this week that the newest member of Anheuser-Busch’s ‘The High End’ would be Asheville, NC Brewery Wicked Weed.
The High End
The High End is essentially Anheuser-Busch’s business unit that deals with craft beer and import European beers. Since last year, the breweries with stakes in this unit included Stella Artois and Shock Top, along with craft partners Goose Island, Blue Point, 10 Barrel, Elysian, Golden Road, Virtue Cider, Four Peaks, Breckenridge Brewery, Devil’s Backbone, SpikedSeltzer and Karbach Brewing Co.
The goal of this project is to create a collaborative effort among these breweries. They will work together to support growth and inspire great new products. While I admit I was against craft brewer’s joining this brewing giant, what they are looking to do looks promising. I can only hope that these smaller craft breweries stick to their guns and continue to stay creative and successful.
I can only hope that these smaller craft breweries stick to their guns and continue to stay creative and successful.
Wicked Weed Brewery was formed in Asheville in 2012 by Walt and Luke Dickinson, and Ryan, Rick and Denise Guthy. They always prided themselves on pushing the envelope with beer.
Some of their claims to fame include various barrel-aged sours, wild ales, and a progression towards collaborative fermented Belgians and hop -forward West Coast-inspired beers. With the success they’ve had in just 5 years, and with an archive of over 500 different brews, Wicked Weed is looking to become a leader in the Southern U.S. of not only experimental barrel-aged beers, but as an overall player in the craft industry.
Anheuser-Busch hopes to aid in their growth and bring their creativity and amazing beers further, and collaborate their efforts with other European breweries as well as other experienced U.S. craft breweries.
The Next Lite Beer?
Absolutely not. Like I said, Anheuser-Busch absorbing smaller breweries seemed like a bad idea. I convinced myself that they were just going to water down and mass distribute their product.
After researching further and listening to news statements, I realize this is not the case. Anheuser wants to take craft beer to the next level, amplifying what they’re able to brew and how.
They are excited about pairing Wicked Weed’s barrel-aging sour success with Goose Island’s renowned Barrel-aging program. These types of collaborative efforts are what personally makes me the most excited about this opportunity.
There’s No Place Like Asheville
Wicked Weed founder Walt Dickinson stressed that Wicked Weed will always be an Asheville brewery. Let’s start with the fact that all the original employees and founders are from there as well as all their facilities.
In fact, another exciting aspect of the deal with Anheuser is now Asheville, NC will be linked with Anheuser-Busch. The success and growth of Wicked Weed will have people visiting North Carolina from all over to get a taste.
Wicked Weed currently has four facilities in the area, including their original Downtown brewpub, the “Funkatorium,” the first dedicated sour beer taproom and barrel house on the East Coast, a 50-barrel production brewery in West Asheville, and the “Funk House and company headquarters,” a brewhouse designed specifically as a training facility for new brewers.
I can’t wait to see the growth of Wicked Weed in this deal as well as the overall success of the breweries involved in ‘The High End.’ With so much talent available for collaborations and creative concepts, Anheuser-Busch has all the weapons to create something great.