In 2016, ZX Ventures, the venture capital arm of AB InBev, bought a minority stake in RateBeer, a popular online beer rating site. On Sunday, RateBeer’s Executive Director Joe Tucker shared that ZX Ventures had fully acquired RateBeer. Tucker assured that the day-to-day user experience of RateBeer wouldn’t look any different and promised that the acquisition would bring expansions and updates to the site.

Among many craft beer aficionados, the mobile app Untappd is the first place they go to “check-in” and rate beers. However, RateBeer still holds sway over the industry. The annual RateBeer awards shine a light on new and established breweries in categories like “Best Beers in the World,” “Best Places for Beer,” and “Best New Brewers” (The news of the ZX Ventures acquisition came just a week after the 2019 RateBeer awards).

Following Tucker’s announcement, there was a significant backlash on the site. The concern is that the site might favor AB Inbev acquired breweries. The Chicago beer writer Josh Noel noted that the media October, in which ZX Ventures is an investor, featured several Anheuser-Busch beers (e.g. Blue Point’s Toasted Lager, 10 Barrel’s Raspberry Crush, and Golden Road’s Wolf Pup) in its end of the year “Best Of” articles. Could we start to see AB InBev beer sneak into RateBeer’s awards?

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