Just Three Months After Elysian Brewing Was Acquired by AB-InBev, Co-founder Dick Cantwell Resigns

by Hannah Howard on Apr 22, 2015 in Culture

We’ll see,” Elysian Brewing cofounder and renowned head brewer Dick Cantwell said when asked if he would stay with Elysian after his company was acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev, one of the largest beer corporations in the world.

The A-B purchased Elysian Brewing Company for an undisclosed sum in January. Three months later, Cantwell resigned. “Working with them into a future of any duration is an intolerable prospect for me,” Cantwell told Brewbound. His last day at work will be May 13.
 
After Elysian was sold, Cantwell signed an employment contract with A-B and agreed to work with the company for two years. The contract also included a non-compete clause—Cantwell is prohibited from starting a new brewing operation in the Pacific Northwest. The length of the non-complete has not been disclosed.
 
Cantwell is a pillar of the craft brewing world and an outspoken advocate for industry rights—one of the reasons the Elysian acquisition hit craft beer-lovers so hard.
 
Elysian was founded in 1995, and sold more than 50,000 barrels of beer in 2014. Its flagship Immortal IPA is its most popular brew. Recently, Anheuser-Busch has been growing its craft beer portfolio. Last year, A-B bought New York-based Blue Point and Oregon’s 10 Barrel Brewing.
 
Cantwell was not shy about sharing his feelings about the sale. He told the Washington Beer Blog:
 
“The tenor of the deal, mainly from the point of view of my former partners and me, was such that I can’t possibly work with them into a future of any duration. My concerns were never even considered as a factor… From the start, it was me against everyone else, with no regrets expressed. Enough about that."
 
“In the past few months A-B has treated me with consideration and seriousness, and they’ve presented me some pretty exciting future possibilities, should I be able to see my way clear to working for them. But I can’t. I am a craft brewer, past, present and future, no matter what I end up doing.”
 
What’s next? Look out for Cantwell’s forthcoming book about wood and barrel-aged beers that he is co-writing with New Belgium Brewmaster Peter Bouckaert.
 
Photo via Flickr User Joe Wolf

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