ZX Ventures, a division of AB InBev, has purchased an ownership interest in RateBeer, the consumer beer forum where beer drinkers exchange information and opinions of beer. The acquisition was made in October of last year but just announced on Friday.
RateBeer was founded in May 2000 by Bill Buchanan. In June 2001, the web-site consultant Joe Tucker joined and eventually assumed full ownership. According to Wikipedia, the site has over 4.5 million ratings (as of early 2013) of more than 470,000 beers, from over 26,000 breweries.
The acquisition is yet another purchase by ABInBev of peripheral craft beer companies Other recent acquisitions include Northern Brewer, a major e-commerce homebrewing supply company and a Conde Nast publication called “October” that ABInBev said would cater to “a new generation of beer drinkers.” This purchase by one of the largest corporations in the world was not done to add profit to the bottom line. Like the “October” and Northern Brewer acquisitions, it will allow the global giant to control the message around craft beer. Some craft brewers have expressed concern about the violation of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethics including Dogfish Head which put a statement on its website denouncing the acquisition.