Craft Brew Alliance
Beer produced in 2012: 675,000 barrels
If it wasn't for those pesky financials, this would be an outstanding fit.
Earnings are looking up from 2012's $169 million, while net income shifted from a $33 million loss in 2008 to a $2.5 million gain 2012. A Super Bowl commercial doesn't exactly slide into that budget without incurring some pain, but this brand's brands and relationships suggest it would be a great fit in the Super Bowl lineup.
For one, it doesn't have to have the existential debate about whether the a Super Bowl commercial is "craft" or not. While other firms and publications count CBA's beer sales in their craft categories, the Brewer's Association doesn't consider the group or its beers craft at all. Anheuser-Busch InBev owns a 32% stake in CBA, which violates the Brewers Association's big-beer minority ownership threshold of 25%. It's an arbitrary number, but BA makes the rules.
Secondly, CBA has a bunch of brands already tied into sports. Its Widmer Brothers brand, founded by brothers Kurt and Rob Widmer in 1984, has brewed several varieties for Major League Soccer's Portland Timbers and has its brand's banner in the rafters of Portland's Jeld-Wen Stadium. It's Redhook brand, meanwhile, ditched its ill-fitting hippie-yuppie hybrid personality of the early aughts for a friendlier, gateway persona that's led to partnerships with sports radio host Dan Patrick on the brewery's Audible Ale and with big-screen sports chain Buffalo Wild Wings on its Game Changer Ale.
The CBA is by no means a small operation. It has coast-to-coast distribution in the U.S. and breweries in Portland, Ore.; Woodinville, Wash.; Portsmouth, N.H.; and Kona, Hawaii. Putting an ad for its Kona brand's Pipeline Porter into a Super Bowl taking place in bitterly cold East Rutherford, N.J., could help warm both hearts and bellies, but it would take a lot more cash than CBA has on hand to make that happen.
Maybe A-B, which has strongarmed its partners at the NFL into an exclusivity agreement for much of the past decade, could throw its craft beer business associate a little help?