|I couldn't resist putting the Goose Island head on the AB eagle though!|
First, Greg Hall is stepping down but is going on to look at different challenges outside beer, which he's going to chat to me in about a month or so BUT he insists that the brands, range, production methods, barrel-ageing programme and new product development will remain untouched and will flourish in the care of former Deschutes head brewer Brett Porter.
The AB suits will not be swarming into Chicago, and nor will they be handling any marketing, new product development or anything else of that ilk - there will be one line of reporting and that's John Hall, founder of Goose Island, who will report directly to the AB president in St Louis David Peacock - that's the only place where the two businesses will 'touch' on a day-to-day business. Goose Island will remain in Chicago.
Also the much-needed $1.3m that's being invested immediately will be great for all of us who love these beers and lament their lack of availability at times! If you've ever been to the Fulton Street Brewery in Chicago you'll know just how at capacity they are, they brew round the clock seven days a week for goodness sake! And that's just to keep up with demand now!
Finally, and most importantly, AB didn't get to be this big by being stupid - they know that by purchasing a multi award-winning craft brewer and giving it the capital to expand will give it more kudos and allow it to tap into more consumers that its own 'faux-craft' beer ever could.
And let's not forget we've already seen exactly the same move in the UK with Molson Coors and Sharp's...
Yes, we all have to watch this space, yes I'm a bit nervous too - especially given the Belgian arm of the business's awesome capability to bugger up craft brands - but we shall just have to trust that the Hall family didn't bust their asses to build this business only to see it dismantled.
And, also this move creates more jobs in Chicago, which if you've ever been to this lovely, but troubled, city you'll know is sorely needed.