Many homebrewers have been passing around the news that Northern Brewer has sold to Anheuser-Busch InBev and it is true. What we don’t yet know is will it change Northern Brewer or not. I’ve only sporadically purchased from NB in the past and the reason was their pricing was on the high side for what I wanted or needed. I once bought a passel of fairly inexpensive experimental hops and some odds and ends grain over the years, but in total certainly not enough to justify all the paper catalogs they have sent me over the years. Some people are already discussing boycott, but it is difficult for me to boycott a business I’m not buying from so I’m gonna sit on the sidelines and watch. AB could lower the prices at NB which would be a good thing, but I really don’t see that happening. Perhaps some ingredients we have not seen before as homebrewers will pop up, but there isn’t much left to the imagination in that realm either. Homebrewing is actually getting ready to dip as the economy is stable and people only get into the hobby in droves when the economy is in the crapper. Homebrewing is never going to save you money because of the equipment you will no doubt invest in and perhaps AB is looking to snag a small piece of that pie. Someone suggested NB probably did about $10 million in sales each year and that would be a blip on the radar screen of AB so I’ll bet their revenues are a bit higher, but even at 5X that amount they still are nothing more than a mere annoyance to AB. Perhaps AB will start to purchase more homebrew shops and gain control of that market, but many would never sell to them and all that would do is turn a mid-sized shop into a large one as people leave one retailer to buy from another. Not sure where this is heading, but right now it will have no impact on me so I’m just gonna keep an eye on the situation.

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