St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch, a division of Anheuser-Busch InBev, announced an agreement to acquire Roseland, Va.-based Devils Backbone Brewing Co., a leading and fast-growing craft brewery in Virginia. Devils Backbone will be the latest partner to join the portfolio of craft breweries in The High End, the company's business unit comprising unique craft and import brands. 

"I am extremely pleased to announce the partnership of Devils Backbone Brewing Co. with Anheuser-Busch. While we are joining a creative group of craft breweries in the division, Devils Backbone will retain a high level of autonomy and continue its own authentic DNA within The High End framework," said Steve Crandall, co-founder and chief executive officer of Devils Backbone Brewing Co., in a statement. "The existing management team plans to stay on board for many years, while continuing to innovate and bring locally crafted Virginia beer to the nation."

In 2008, founders Steve and Heidi Crandall opened the doors to Devils Backbone Brewing Co. in the Virginia Heartland, after being inspired by a ski trip to northern Italy in 1991 where they had their first taste of Germanic style beer, the company says. After success with the first brewpub, Basecamp, the decision was made to break ground on the Outpost facility in Lexington, Va. Originally projected to produce 10,000 barrels of beer in its first 10 years, the Outpost produced almost 45,000 barrels in its first three. Steve Crandall credits much of this early success to the excellent network of distributors within his system, which is weighted heavily toward Anheuser-Busch.  

Today, the Outpost Brewery & Taproom in Lexington serves as the primary production brewery while the Basecamp Brewpub & Meadows in Roseland, serves as a visitor destination.

"Devils Backbone has captivated beer drinkers in Virginia since opening its doors eight years ago," said Felipe Szpigel, president of The High End division, in a statement. "From the beginning, they have shown creativity and talent with the great beers they brew, and they've been able to use the authentic offerings at Basecamp Brewpub & Meadows to cultivate a fun, outdoor lifestyle that resonates with everyone. Pair these qualities with dynamic leadership and a dream to do something bigger, and you have the recipe for an even more promising future."

Best known for its flagship Vienna Lager, which accounted for nearly 60 percent of Devils Backbone volume in 2015, the portfolio also includes other award-winning year-round beers like Eight Point IPA and Schwartz Bier.

First Beverage Group acted as financial advisor to Devils Backbone Brewing Co. Anheuser-Busch's partnership with Devils Backbone is expected to close in the second quarter, subject to customary closing conditions. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.