Apparently the acquisitions aren’t over just yet, as word comes down today that Anheuser-Busch is setting to complete yet another one, and this one may surprise you as it breaks the pattern they’ve previously set with the previous purchases (10 Barrel Brewing and Elysian Brewing most recently): the brewing giant is acquiring the uber-popular social media site/app Untappd!
Though not immediately clear what AB’s strategy is with this move, they gain immediate access to hundreds of thousands of users leveraged across a powerful beer social media platform—surely some sort of positive spin bid on the entire “doing it the hard way” fiasco as Untappd is really all about “fussing” over beer.
Cynics might point out that AB will be able to co-opt and inflate the ratings for their own beers, which is ridiculous—their flagship Budweiser already has nearly 360,000 total checkins with an overall rating of a respectable 2.42 out of 5—solidly middle-of-the-road and better than a dreaded 1. So it wouldn’t make much sense that they’d need to artificially inflate their own scores which are already solidly mostly satisfactory for a megabrewer.
Rumors would suggest something more subversive: subtly altering or even in some cases outright replacing the existing Untappd badges with ones relating to AB and their various products. So for instance the popular “I Believe in IPA!” badge will become “I Believe in ABI!” and the “Gluten-Free” badge will become “Redbridge Gluten-Free.” The badges “Lite Weight” and “All American” will stay as they are now except they will only feature AB brands.
An email out to Untappd founders Tim Mather and Greg Avola has so far not been returned nor has a price for the acquisition been revealed. I’m sure more details will become apparent as the story unfolds.