Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Anheuser-Busch InBev to acquire quirky Belgian brewery behind Tripel Karmeliet

Photo: bestbelgianspecialbeers.be

Global beer monolith Anheuser-Busch InBev continued its spate of newsworthy acquisitions Thursday, according to multiple reports. This time, it’s not an American craft brewing upstart, but the 225-year-old Brouwerij Bosteels of Buggenhout, Belgium.

While the brewery name might not ring a bell, its two biggest beers would surely be familiar to American drinkers: Tripel Karmeliet and Pauwel Kwak. Tripel Karmeliet is one of the most beloved of the monk beer imitations that are common among Belgian breweries. In this case, the beer follows the recipe of a Carmelite monastery from 1679; the bottle refermentation, blend of three types of grain and use of Candi sugar make this a standard reference when drinkers are looking for that “Belgian beer” taste.


Pauwel Kwak is a beer better known for its glass than its taste. If you’ve been to a good beer bar you’ve likely seen it—a long, test-tube looking glass that can’t actually stand on its own. Its served with a wooden stand that steadies the glass while you reach for more frites and aioli. Like Tripel Karmeliet, it clocks in at a hefty 8.4 percent ABV, which doubtlessly leads to many smashed beer-beakers in fine beer halls the world over.

Bosteels has been family owned and operated for seven generations—the company is 61 years older than Anheuser-Busch. In recent weeks, rumors in the Belgian business press suggested Heineken or Duvel Moortgat might acquire Bosteels. Heineken owns a 50% stake in Lagunitas and Duvel Moortgat is involved with Ommegang, Boulevard and Firestone-Walker.

Terms of the deal weren’t released, but reports estimate it’s worth around 200 million euros ($225.4 million). For context, Ballast Point Brewery was purchased by Constellation Brands last year for $1 billion, while Goose Island was purchased by AB InBev for $39 million just five years ago. Like Goose Island founder John Hall in 2011, Antoine Bosteels is reportedly staying on to run the brewery within AB InBev’s craft and specialty division.

Share This Story