High End Sounds Low Note
A change in the weather is known to be extreme
But what’s the sense of changing horses in midstream
– Bob Dylan
By Tony Forder
A lot’s been made of the High End, the entity that was created by AB InBev in 2014 to manage their portfolio of craft brewery purchases and including some specialty imports like Stella Artois and their own “craft” brand Shocktop. The High End underlined AB InBev’s commitment to their craft investments and differentiated those beers from their mainstream products like Bud and Bud Light.
That commitment seemed to suffer some dilution when it was announced last week that nearly 400 jobs at the High End would be eliminated. Most of the attrition affects the sales force. In various news sources, AB InBev cited duplication of services; in other words, they now feel that their mainstream sales team can effectively take on the High End craft portfolio. The corporation said that no one reporting directly to the individual High End breweries would be affected.
In another interesting revelation High End President Felipe Szpigel was quoted on Forbes.com as stating that AB InBev is no longer interested in acquiring any more craft breweries. “Our plate is full,” Szpigel told Forbers reporter Tara Nurin, “We have 10 amazing craft partners. Our focus is going to be organic.”
Those “amazing” 10 acquisitions in the High End are Goose Island, 10 Barrel, Elysian, Blue Point, Wicked Weed, Four Peaks, Devil’s Backbone, Breckenridge, Golden Road and Karbach.