A-B to Sell Virtue Cider Back to Founder

Anheuser-Busch InBev plans to sell Virtue Cider, Fennville, Mich., to Greg Hall. Hall, the former brewmaster for Goose Island Beer Co., and 30 other investors founder Virtue Cider in 2011. After the ABI transaction is completed, Hall will be to sole owner of the cidery, according to filings with Michigan regulators.

Hall said it had been "a great five years" with Anheuser-Busch. “Moving forward, we’ll continue to focus on what we’ve always done: making world-class ciders that are fit for the table, being great stewards of the environment, and helping more people discover Fennville and all that Southwest Michigan has to offer,” he said.  

The transaction was first reported by the Crain's Grand Rapids Business.

In 2015, when ABI acquired a partial interest in Virtue Cider it was struggling financially. Hall and the other investors were bought out by A-B in 2017.

Last week, A-B said it was selling eight craft beverage brands and breweries to Tilray Brands, a Canadian cannabis company, in an $83.4 million all-cash deal. The Tilray transaction was announce Aug. 7. A-B filed documents with state regulators regarding Virtue Cider on Aug. 4.

The sale comes as A-B continues to suffer from a conservative backlash over its association with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. Sales of Bud Light were down 30.6% in the four weeks ended Sept. 23, according to Ad Age.

At the National Beer Wholesalers Association'a convention, outgoiong chairman Gordon Green said the beer industry has been "shaken to its core" was the effect of the boycott of Bud Light and the effects of Anheuser-Busch's declines.

That far surpassed other events in what he termed a "tumultuous year," including increased competition from spirits and large non-alcoholic beverage companies.

Subscribe to Kane's Beverage News Daily

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.