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Three very different takes on the sale of Wicked Weed

Photo credit: WLOS staff

Earlier in May, Asheville's independently owned Wicked Weed Brewing announced it was "joining forces" with The High End, Anheuser-Busch’s business unit focused on craft and import brands.

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Here's one response to the sale from Tasty Beverage, a South Slope beer emporium with a sister location in Raleigh:

If you want the "TL;DR", here it is... It's been a rough week, and for now, you'll still see Wicked Weed on our shelves. You might not care one way or another, but if you're about to grab a pitchfork, this is very long, but please hear us out.

...

The concepts of core beliefs, values, and hypocrisy have been used a lot this past week. Like our friend Khris from Green Bench said, this is a "no-win game that was given to us, and we simply don't want to play." No matter what, moving forward, I'm a hypocrite, and I'm going to have to act contrary to my values. Our values and core beliefs tell us not to support AB Inbev and other corporate beer. They also tell us to respect our friends and neighbors, and to support those who support us. Tasty hosted a Migration Week event in Asheville and has had people lined up outside on a Black Friday for BCBS at both shops. We've since decided a little bit of Bourbon County wasn't worth supporting them year round, fiscally or morally. On the other hand, we have a keg of Unfiltered Sculpin on tap in Raleigh right now, we had a Terrapin event two weeks ago in Raleigh, and we have a Terrapin event in Asheville this week. Ballast Point, Lagunitas, and Terrapin are all on our shelves right now. We've come to the conclusion that this value, this core belief, of not bowing down to ABI, is still important, but maybe not as important as we thought, or as we'd like to believe it is. ABI may certainly be a soulless entity, but for right now, Wicked Weed doesn't feel soulless or gone to us. They're right there across the street, and while it may not be forever, and it may not be in the same capacity, we're going to keep working together.

Read their take on the Wicked Weed sale here.

RELATED | Businesses, breweries pull support for Wicked Weed after Anheuser-Busch buyout

From Venture Asheville, the "high-growth entrepreneurship initiative of the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County and the Asheville Chamber of Commerce":

Without exits, you do not have a startup community. You have a small business community.
With exits come high-salary jobs, wealthy startup founders and early employees who then fund the next generation of entrepreneurs, more appetite for risk-taking on the part of local angel investors, even more angel investors entering the startup community, more dollars flowing to local entrepreneurs, and more investors outside your community eager to discover other startups within your community to fund.
Exits are fuel. They are lifeblood. They matter a great deal to the future of Asheville and to our city’s potential to create high-salary jobs for those who live here.
If you like high salaries, then celebrate exits.

...

...it is incredibly awesome that Wicked Weed was acquired last week by brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev. That the largest brewer in the world believes that a five-year-old company in Asheville is strategic to its future growth speaks volumes about the credibility of our city to launch and scale world-class companies.
Wicked Weed's exit immediately casts a golden halo of credibility over other Asheville companies across every industry that are eager to expand nationally and internationally. It is a very big deal.

Read Venture Asheville's take on the sale of Wicked Weed here.

RELATED | Wicked Weed beer sale marks flashpoint in brewery turf wars

From an open letter posted on wickedweedsoldout.com, signed "Jed S. Holmes." Holmes claims to be a four-year former employee:

In 2013 I sat in beer class put on by Wicked Weed that taught me about the inevitable decline of microbreweries purchased by macro-beer. YOU taught me this lesson and you know exactly where your brand is headed.
This is not a “partnership”. It is a SELL OUT. I’m tired of seeing all this In-Bev propaganda on social media spinning it as a “partnership’. It's cute you want the employees to bond together and talk about how great their work family is. It was a work family, but corporate encouragement to perpetuate “family” on social media puts a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. It’s nice that your managers now have a down payment on their first house with the $10,000 bonus they are receiving for remaining positive. It’s really contrived when its all suggested and sponsored by Anheuser-Busch for their benefit. Lets be clear, this sell out is not “good for the community” it’s “good for the brand of Wicked Weed.” There are 20 other breweries in town and none of them did this.

Read the full text of the open letter here.

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