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Anheuser-Busch buys up another craft brewer

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NEW YORK — Anheuser-Busch has signed a deal to buy 10 Barrel Brewing Co., a craft brewer in Oregon, as part of its ongoing plan to get into the small but fast-growing market for craft beer.

Belgium-based Anheuser-Busch InBev did not disclose details of the purchase, which is expected to close by the end of the year, except to say that the leadership will not change at 10 Barrel.

“We are excited to stay focused on brewing cool beers, get our beers in more hands, and make the most of the operation and distribution expertise of Anheuser-Busch,” said 10 Barrel’s Jeremy Cox.

Cox, his brother Chris, and Garrett Wales co-founded the brewery in 2006.

An exterior view of the Anheuser-Busch brewing complex in St. Louis, Missouri.

An exterior view of the Anheuser-Busch brewing complex in St. Louis, Missouri.

The motive of Anheuser-Busch is obvious, said Benj Steinman, editor of Beer Marketer’s Insights. He said the beer industry has been losing market share to wine and spirits, and Big Beer needs something to pick up the speed.

“Each of the last four years the industry has actually shrunk a little bit, overall, but craft has been the darling,” he said.

Also, he said well-known brands like Budweiser have stagnated compared to the relatively small but rapidly expanding craft beer market, which rose to 7.8% of the beer market last year, compared to 4.2% in 2008. He said that craft brewers have experienced double-digit volume growth in the last several years.

This is why Anheuser-Busch bought the Chicago craft brewer Goose Island in 2011.

Based in Bend, Ore., 10 Barrel’s biggest brand is an India pale ale called Apocalypse IPA, which accounts for half of the company’s volume, which is projected to be 40,000 barrels this year.

10 Barrel also has pubs in Bend and Boise, Idaho, and plans to open one in Portland next year.