It took six months, but we now know that AB InBev is purchasing more than just craft breweries.
In October 2016, ZX Ventures, which is Anheuser-Busch InBev’s “tech-friendly growth division,” purchased a minority state in the ratings review site RateBeer.com. According to a post on on the ratings site, the deal was made so that RateBeer could take advantage of the “resources and infrastructure it needs to move forward and develop for the coming technical challenges and opportunities.”
“We’ve also looked at a variety of potential partners and found ZX was our best choice,” said Joe Tucker, the site’s executive director on a post on RateBeer’s website. “Their comfort with technology, existing tech resources, beer loving culture, enthusiasm and respect for the community, an understanding of varied beer cultures globally, the stability of their company and dedication to preserving our independence made ZX the very best fit. I know this is surprising to many out there, but I’m confident I made the best possible decision.”
As part of the deal, Tucker will remain as manager of Ratebeer, and there will be no major changes to any of the other positions, including the volunteer administrators who monitor the website.
Three days after the announcement was made, Dogfish Head Brewery owner Sam Calagione posted a letter on the brewery’s website, calling the investment a “direct violation of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethics and a blatant conflict of interest.” In addition, Calagione called on RateBeer users to “shift the sharing of your beer opinions and reviews to another platform that remains loyal to the principles of journalistic integrity.”
Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.