01 March 2017
AB InBev, the world's biggest beer brewer, has acquired a significant stake in one of China's best known craft brewers, in a move that shakes up the country's tiny but booming craft beer scene and, the slumping beer giant hopes, its own bottom line.
The company's quarterly earnings announcement on Thursday disappointed investors, who sent the stock falling 3% after AB InBev missed analyst estimates for the seventh quarter in a row. The sluggish results provided further explanation for why AB InBev was willing to spend $103 billion to buy rival SABMiller and why it is pushing hard for growth in markets like China. AB InBev has also been investing in craft brands, buying nine U.S. craft brewers over the past six years.
Boxing Cat Brewery in Shanghai wasn't the city's first craft brewer when a trio of businesspeople--two Americans and one Canadian--opened it in 2008. But it has survived to become the city's longest lasting. Last year it became the first Chinese microbrewery to win a medal at the World Beer Festival. Its beers share the pugilist theme of its brand name: There's a Ringside Red, Sucker Punch Pale Ale, and Standing 8 pilsner.
AB InBev confirmed the purchase Thursday, after it had been rumored in China's craft beer circles for a week and reported by the website Drink. "We see great potential for Boxing Cat Brewery to continue to grow and further progress the small craft beer market currently in China," the company said in a statement today.