This morning, we received an email from Walt Dickinson, of Wicked Weed Brewing Company, a few minutes before the news appeared publicly, informing us of the big news. When we checked online, our social media feed was flooded with posts about Wicked Weed and ABInBev. Personally, Sarah and I were shocked to learn of ABInBev's acquisition of Wicked Weed, and we still are.
We consider Walt and the rest of the Wicked Weed crew to be friends and we are happy for them and honestly wish them the best.
However, at Black Project, we have deep and serious issues with many of ABInBev's business strategies, mission, and overall ethics as they relate to craft beer in America. In Denver alone, we've seen several instances of highly aggressive, predatory, and what we consider to be unethical practices. We truly believe that ABInBev intends to systematically destroy American craft beer as we know it. We don't personally buy, seek, trade, or acquire any of their products for this reason, and we've been known to encourage our friends to do the same.
As some of you may know, and something many people have asked us about today, we have two collaboration beers with Wicked Weed currently in-progress; one beer at our facility and one at theirs. We also had plans, and were looking forward to attending, the Wicked Weed Funkatorium Invitational this July. We had a decision to make - to continue a business relationship with Wicked Weed now that they will be owned by ABInBev, or to cut ties and hopefully remain friends.
For us, the choice is clear. At this stage, we don't feel we are able to have a business relationship with Wicked Weed because that connection, ultimately, is one with ABInBev. Unfortunately, we don’t feel that having any connection with ABInBev is something we can do while still maintaining our mission, values, and core beliefs.
What this means is that we will not be able to lend our name to the unfinished collaboration beer currently aging in Asheville, NC. Additionally, the beer we brewed with Wicked Weed here at Black Project will be blended with other existing aged beer we have on hand to make something totally different which we will not consider a Wicked Weed collaboration. Finally, we will not be attending the Wicked Weed Funkatorium Invitational in July.
We wish the best to everyone at Wicked Weed and we are happy for their success. We know they will continue to make great beers and we hope to remain personal friends in the future.
James Howat and Sarah Howat
Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales