To help combat the rise of craft beer, Anheuser-Busch will reportedly do more than just buy up microbreweries. The global beer giant will also heavily invest in expanding its flagship brands and distribution channels.
Total investments, which will last through 2020, will equal $2 billion, Bloomberg recently reported.
Investments will include $200 million in 2017 to improve operations at the company’s biggest U.S. breweries, Bloomberg reported. Another $180 million will go towards better packaging and expanding the use of aluminum bottles. The Anheuser-Busch supply chain will receive $82 million for projects such as new distribution centers in L.A. and Columbus, Ohio, as well as Baldwinsville, New York for that location’s nonalcoholic products.
Another $15 million will go towards a facility in Fairfield, Connecticut, which will pump out beers by Elysian Brewery, a large Seattle-based craft brewer that Anheuser-Busch purchased in 2015.
Bloomberg reported: “The first $500 million will be spent this year on what Castro Neves calls the company’s three pillars: elevating its biggest beer brands, building its presence in craft brews and imports, and pushing beyond regular beer into low-alcohol beverages and other drinks.”
This includes spending on “near beer” products like hard sparkling water. Anheuser-Busch acquired the brand SpikedSeltzer in 2016.
To date Anheuser-Busch has bought nine craft breweries and is in the process of closing on a tenth, Wicked Weed of North Carolina.