AB InBev’s craft beer arm, ZX Ventures, has stepped into the homebrewing business with it’s purchase of Northern Brewer Home Brew Supply and Midwest Supplies.

ZX VenturesIn February 2015 AB InBev started ZX Ventures group, with the intent of investing in high end and non-traditional areas of the craft beer market. “Z” stands for Zythology, which is the study of beer. ZX has invested in many well known craft breweries such as Elysian, 10 Barrel, Breckenridge, Devil’s Backbone and more.

Northern Brewer’s owner, Chris Farley, made a statement on their website. Here’s an excerpt:

First, nothing will fundamentally change as the result of this deal. Our entire leadership team will remain intact and our company will continue to be independent. Our staff of dedicated employees will continue to serve our customers and help our industry innovate. Our culture will remain as it is today: vibrant, energetic, fair and dedicated to our mission and to you.

Second, this partnership with ZX Ventures is about growing our company and providing our customers with unparalleled opportunities. This deal will make us stronger and able to pursue our passion with even greater focus, better tools and ingredients.

We are convinced that this partnership will be good for us and great for you. We share the same mission with ZX, to provide “consumers with exceptional beer experiences, anytime, anywhere.” That is, after all, why we’re all here.

This sounds like exactly the type of agreement that AB has made with many of its craft brewery acquisitions: Retain creative control. Use our resources, money and distribution powers to expand your reach.

It’s essentially what every business wants and when it comes down to executing it, you need to rely on big money and those with access. ZX on the other hand will leverage the inroads Northern Brewer has made with the valuable homebrewing sector. According to Brewbound 1.2 million homebrewers spent $800 million on homebrew supplies in 2015. Northern Brewer annual sales are estimated to be 2.5% of that total, or $20 million.

ZX’s Global VP of Homebrewing, Cassiano Hissnauer

ZX Ventures, AB InBev’s disruptive growth organization, is pleased to share we have partnered with Northern Brewer. The team there shares our passion for brewing and commitment to the best ingredients. Northern Brewer has been a leader in homebrewing for more than 20 years, and has built an extraordinary network and community of homebrewers. ZX Ventures is excited to enter the homebrew space to help Northern Brewer to grow.

The consolidation of the market will continue and might accelerate as we see craft beer’s market slowing.