Old Latrobe, new owner: Anheuser-Busch explores sale of Rolling Rock beer


The Wall Street Journal reports that Anheuser-Busch InBev (AHBIF) is considering selling Rolling Rock, a regionally popular beer brand whose sales have been falling for the past few years. This sale is the latest development in a long, sad demonstration of why A-B's fortunes were sinking prior to its purchase by InBev.

The tale of the goose that laid golden egg seems oddly appropriate here. Anheuser-Busch bought Rolling Rock from InBev in 2006, ostensibly with plans to use the brewer as an entry point into the "craft" beer market. However, as anyone who ever drank Rolling Rock could probably have pointed out, the fine brew from Old Latrobe was never really a craft beer. It was a decent, relatively cheap lager, not unlike Genesee Pale Ale or Mickey's. Its target demographic was basically economizing drinkers, college students and, to a certain extent, hipsters who might be attracted to its painted-on labels, cool iconography, and the mildly mysterious number "33" printed on every bottle.