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Beer giant Anheuser-Busch buys Golden Road Brewing, LA's largest craft brewery

Golden Road
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman Golden Road

I guess the little guys can't stay little forever. Today it was announced that Golden Road Brewing, LA's largest craft brewery, was acquired by beer giant Anheuser-Busch, joining AB's High End Business Unit portfolio that already includes Goose Island Beer Co., Blue Point Brewing, 10 Barrel Brewing and Elysian Brewing. Golden Road, which was founded in 2011 and has crafted local favorites like Point the Way IPA, Wolf Among Weeds and Get Up Offa that Brown, had already announced an expansion into Grand Central Market this year, plus a new production pub and brewery in Anaheim for 2016. “Our team worked hard to build Golden Road from the ground up," said Meg Gill, president and co-founder at Golden Road Brewing, "and we are proud of the growth we’ve achieved in such a short time. California is an exciting and competitive market for beer and I see endless opportunities in partnering with Anheuser-Busch and their incredible distribution network to bring our beers to more people.”

So what does this mean for Golden Road's loyal drinkers? I reached out to Amy Cavanaugh, Time Out Chicago's Restaurants & Bars editor, for insight into what happened after Anheuser-Busch's acquisition of Goose Island in 2011. Turns out, the world (or Chicago) didn't end. "Goose Island has a shiny taproom now," Cavanaugh said in an email. "But in terms of quality, you wouldn't know the difference." Goose Island's more popular beers, like 312, are no longer made in Chicago, so the company can focus on brewing a greater volume of their other beers, like Bourbon County Stout.

Perhaps this acquisition means not just greater distribution, but also the opportunity to produce more of Golden Road's experimental and seasonal beers. One thing we're hoping doesn't get lost in transition: the brewery's dedication to charity, like its 2020 IPA, which generated proceeds for the Los Angeles River Revitalization Corporation. AB seems to agree, saying "Their focus on giving back to the community and impact on the Los Angeles craft market in four short years makes Golden Road a strong addition to our craft portfolio.” Remember the little guys, Golden Road!

What are your thoughts about this partnership? Worried? Pissed? Let us know in the comments below!