This case presents a scenario wherein Hayes Humphreys, the Chief Operating Officer of Devils Backbone Brewing Company (DBB), has just attended a quarterly summit held by Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI) for all 12 of the North American craft breweries in its High End business unit. It is the summer of 2018, and Humphreys has had over a year and a half to observe DBB’s evolution since its acquisition by Belgium-headquartered ABI in 2016. Through interviews with Humphreys and other members of DBB’s management team, the case introduces students to ABI’s selective approach to integrating the Virginia-based craft brewery into the High End over the first 20 months following the corporate integration, while also asking them to consider the High End’s strategic direction and future.
Following this introduction to the ABI-DBB integration, the cases asks students to consider the following: Where did DBB feel the most changes due to ABI’s ownership? Where did DBB benefit the most from being an ABI brewery, and where did it feel the pain of bureaucracy most acutely? What new strengths and opportunities did DBB most benefit from thanks to ABI, and where would challenges exist in the future?