UPDATE, 9:13PM: In addition to everything below, I would also like to add the following article from the Craft Beer Joe blog. He does a nice job taking on this issue from many different sides.
One of the potentially significant casualties in this Wicked Weed acquisition by ABI is an upcoming Wicked Weed event called the Funkatorium Invitational. To be held this July, the Invitational was an opportunity for brewers from across the country to come together and celebrate one of Wicked Weed's biggest successes: the development of the sour beer.
In light of yesterday's news, outlets are reporting that at least a dozen of the 70 breweries scheduled to appear at this event have now pulled out. Despite the setbacks, which may continue in the coming days, Wicked Weed remains committed to the event, but is offering refunds to those who desire them.
Among the pullouts is the Greenville, South Carolina-based Birds Fly South Ale Project. As a South Carolina-based blogger, I was eager to hear their plans on the Invitational specifically, as well as their thoughts on the matter as a whole. I reached out yesterday, and this afternoon, BFS's Ames Webb responded to me with their public statement, which is now available on their website:
BFS makes an excellent point about ABI's actions that "negatively impact our closest friends". ABI won't only utilize their lobbying resources on state lawmakers all across this country, they use their significant financial resources to strong arm their way into more and more shelf space in grocery stores, gas stations, distributors, and more, ALL at the expense of independent craft brewers and their (in some areas) dwindling commercial footprint. I also love use of the word "fellowship" in the final paragraph.
Anyway, my personal thanks to Birds Fly South for their cooperation. I will post more on this ongoing story as needed.