ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — The sale of North Carolina’s beloved Wicked Weed beer to the company that makes Budweiser is coming at a cost for the Asheville craft brewer.
Wicked Weed has lost its voting rights in a craft beer guild and was booted from collaborations with two independent breweries. A handful of stores and restaurants also say they will no longer sell the beer because it has been sold to the macro-brewer Anheuser-Busch Inbev.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reported that the beverage giant announced the acquisition Wednesday. Wicked Weed, established in 2012, will join brands such as Stella Artois and Devils Backbone in The High End business unit, founded in 2015.
Wicked Weed co-founder and head blender Walt Dickinson says the Asheville brewery doesn’t anticipate major changes or limitation to its creative freedom and will continue to retain significant autonomy upon finalization of the sale. Dickinson says that he plans to win back any upset customers.
Co-founder and sales head Ryan Guthy says the brand’s distribution footprint will expand, but its imaging won’t change.
The North Carolina brewery has created nearly 600 different beers since its founding and owns and operates four facilities in Asheville.