HOUSTON -- Anheuser-Busch is buying Karbach Brewery, one of Houston's top craft beer makers, to add to its High End division.
"Karbach is the heart and soul of our beer industry careers, and we are thrilled about this new partnership with The High End and what it will mean for our dream to give more Texans the most unique, unexpected, and exciting beers they’ll have fun drinking," co-founder Ken Goodman said in a statement.
Goodman and his partners started their brewery five years ago on Karbach Street. Just two years after Karbach launched, the brewery produced 17,000 barrels of beer, reaching 40,000 barrels just over a year later.
They added a new brewhouse in 2014 and expanded to the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex last year.
“Karbach has built a unique, thriving brand rooted in the Texas spirit,” said Felipe Szpigel, president, The High End. “From the beginning, they have shown creativity and passion with the super beers they brew, and they’ve been able to use their unique offerings to appeal to the laid back lifestyle that resonates with Texans."
Customers hope the partnership won't change their favorite brew.
"My knee jerk reaction is to worry that they wont retain the local feel that they've cultivated that I love about them," said Lawson Gow.
Other fans aren't worried.
"They've supported the community from the get go. I think the community should rally behind them and support their decision," said David Aguire with Cedar Creek Cafe. "I think they made the decision with a good heart.
That's what the importance of a local beer in a local community is all about."
Locals at Cedar Creek were just finding out about Karbach’s changes during the lunch-hour, Thursday.
“If the acquisition is good for Karbach then that makes me happy as long as they remain true to their local roots.”
In a press release, Karbach assures customers they aren’t changing quality.
"Karbach joining Anheuser-Busch’s ‘High End” chain will retain a high level of independence, and the existing management and brewing teams will continue to drive culture and strategy, all while having fun."
“The quality of the beer is not going to change,” said Eric Warner, Karbach's Master Brewer. “The beer is still going to be made by the 50 people on our brewing team that come in every day blood, sweat and tears to make a pint of beer.”
Anheuser-Busch plans to invest in Karbach to realize a brewing capacity of 150,000 barrels per year by 2019.