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Anheuser-Busch To Take Goose Island Beer Nationwide

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Goose Island
kridel250 Kris Kridel
Kris Kridel is midday co-anchor and co-host of WBBM’s Noon Business...
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CHICAGO (CBS) — The signature Chicago craft brews from Goose Island beer are set to go nationwide.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Kris Kridel reports, as recently as 2000, Goose Island beer was only available locally. But now, as a property of Anheuser-Busch, Goose Island beer will be available in all 50 states by the end of the year.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Kris Kridel reports

The Chicago Tribune reports Goose Island will be Anheuser-Busch’s national craft brew brand, competing with Samuel Adams, Sierra Nevada and other national craft brands.

Anheuser-Busch, a subsidiary of Leuven, Belgium-based Anheuser-Busch InBev, bought Goose Island last year for $38.8 million. The brewing giant had been looking to get in on the expanding craft beer market.

Under the national distribution plan, the beer maker’s biggest sellers — 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Honker’s Ale, India Pale Ale and various seasonal brews — will be manufactured at Anheuser-Busch’s plants in Fort Collins, Colo., and Baldwinsville, N.Y.

The Chicago brewery at 1800 W. Fulton St. will still be used to produce the higher end Goose Island brands, such as Bourbon County, Brand Stout, Sofie, and Matilda, the Tribune reported. The Fulton Street facility will also still produce some of the other brands, as will the Red Hook brewery in Porstmouth N.H., the Tribune reported.

Before the deal, Goose Island beer was distributed primarily in the Midwest, but could also be found throughout the many other parts of the country and in the U.K.

Goose Island founder and chief executive officer John Hall said there was no doubt the brewery would go nationwide after the sale to Anheuser-Busch.

“All the dynamics changed dramatically,” he said. “It just happened quicker than we thought it would.”

The Goose Island Beer Company was founded by Hall in 1988. It was one of the first small breweries in the Midwest.

The original Goose Island brewery and brewpub opened in 1988 at 1800 N. Clybourn Ave., and became an anchor of the 1800 Clybourn mall. The mall – housed in an industrial loft complex that had once held a Turtle Wax factory – also housed the Remains Theatre and an assortment of specialty and boutique stores and restaurants.

The mall closed in 1994 and most of it was demolished, but the Goose Island brewpub remained as a new shopping center anchored by a Bed, Bath and Beyond store rose around it. The Fulton Street brewery opened in 1995, and a second brewpub, at 3535 N. Clark St. just south of Wrigley Field, opened in 1999.

The original Clybourn Avenue brewpub nearly closed in 2008, on account of rising rents in the neighborhood. But last-minute negotiations with the landlord kept it open.

The Wrigleyville brewpub also remains open, although its building may be leveled to makeway for a massive hotel, retail and residential development, called the Addison Park on Clark. The project has been forestalled since its developer was hit with foreclosure last year.

The two Goose Island pubs were not part of the Anheuser-Busch deal last year.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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