Devils Backbone will join Anheuser-Busch’s other craft brands, such as Goose Island, Four Peaks and Golden Road, in The High End (Anheuser-Busch’s business unit for craft and import brands).
Devils Backbone’s flagship brew is its Vienna Lager, which accounted for almost 60% of volumes in 2015. The portfolio also includes Eight Point IPA and Schwartz Bier.
50,000 square foot expansion planned
Devils Backbone was founded in 2008 by Steve and Heidi Crandall, after being inspired by Germanic style beer on a ski trip to Italy. The business started with a brewpub, Basecamp, followed by its Outpost facility in Lexington, Virginia.
“We still know where we want to go, but we realized we needed a partner to get there”
Today, the Outpost Brewery & Taproom is the primary production brewery. The Basecamp brewpub – which is surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains – serves as a visitor destination and offers numerous outdoor activities such as bike races, trail run races and festivals.
Steve Crandall, co-founder and CEO of Devils Backbone, said the brewer will “continue its own authentic DNA within The High End framework”.
Crandall said Devils Backbone has been built on a ‘unique, adventurous spirit’ but has now outgrown its means.
“We still know where we want to go, but we realized we needed a partner to get there,” he said. “For the past year we’ve been exploring options for a long-term solution that would enable us to continue expanding our business of brewing consistent, high-quality craft beer.
“ABI [Anheuser-Busch InBev] will support our brand as we build out our dream of what Devils Backbone can become.”
Developments for the Basecamp Brewpub will include permanent camping and added infrastructure. At the Outpost Brewery and Taproom, a 50,000 square foot expansion is planned to accommodate a new shipping and receiving facility along with additional packaging automation.
“All these improvements have been in the planning for many years and they will continue to have our own authentic DNA on them,” said Crandall.
The partnership is expected to close in the second quarter, with terms of the agreement not being disclosed.
Read some of the reaction on Twitter below.