Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Has Goose Island Sold Out?

A Deal with the Devil?
From all the chatter on Twitter and Facebook, you’d think Goose Island owner and founder, John Hall, had sold his soul to the devil. Today’s Chicago Sun-Times asked if Goose Island has “sold its craft-brewed soul?” The article goes on to quote one disgruntled fan, calling the deal “The end of the world.” Why all the angst over this sale?

Craft Beer Sales Up
According to Hall, who will remain as chief executive officer, Anheuser-Busch isn’t buying the company to ruin it, as some fear, but because Goose Island has a successful business model. While traditional beer sales have increased in the single digits, craft beer sales were up 11 percent last year. That growth in craft beer sales happened while overall beer consumption was down by 1 percent, according to The Brewers Association, a group that represents small craft brewers.

Multi-Million Dollar Deal
Anheuser-Busch paid $38.8 million for Goose Island. This includes $22.5 million for the 58 percent owned by Fulton Brewery and $16.3 million for the 42 percent stake owned by Craft Brewers Alliance Inc., out of Portland, OR., according to the article in the Sun-Times and other sources.
John Hall, founder and president of Goose Island

Goose Island has been distributed by Anheuser-Busch since 2006, which owns a one-third share in Craft Brewers.

New Jobs in 2011
In 2010, Goose Island increased staff by 20 percent (currently there are 115 people working at Fulton Street brewery). With the continued success of the company and now with the sale to Anheuser-Busch, that number could increase by another 20 percent. In a statement posted yesterday to the company Web site, Hall had this to say about the sale: “Today’s agreement to consolidate ownership of Goose Island under Anheuser-Busch will provide us with the best resources available to continue along our path of growth and innovation.”

The Goose Island brewpubs at 1800 N. Clybourn and 3535 N. Clark are not part of the sale.


What do you think? Has owner John Hall sold out or is he just a good business man? Please feel free to vote in the very unscientific poll at the top of the page and/or comment on this blog.


  1. Seriously. someone offers you $38.8 million for your company and you would say no?

  2. It's not their business model that's made them profitable. It's the fact that people have finally realized that it's more interesting to drink microbrews than the same old mainstream crap.


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