In the wake of the news that Ashville’s Wicked Weed Brewery will be acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev, multiple craft brewers have withdrawn from the brewery’s upcoming Funkatorium Invitational beer festival scheduled for July. On Thursday, Greenville’s Birds Fly South Ale Project – the only South Carolina brewery invited to participate in the festival – announced it too would be withdrawing its involvement.
As of press time, more than a dozen breweries – including Trillium, Jester King, Almanac and Creature Comforts – have announced they no long plan to participate in the sour beer festival on July 8. Included among the list of 70 announced breweries participating in the event was Birds Fly South. However, in a press release a day after the acquisition announcement, BFS stated it would no longer be involved in the festival.
Below is the brewery’s statement in full.
In the Southeast and across the nation small breweries face significant limitations and challenges because of the economic and legislative efforts put forth by large breweries and distributors. These initiatives create an environment that stagnates innovation, collaboration, and creativity. Smaller operations constantly must find ways to work within these damaging state-level policies, and the results are a severe limitation in financial, cultural, and quality-of-product growth.
At the beginning of this Birds Fly South journey we wanted to take the culture lessons that have been passed down from our craft brewery friends and mentors to establish an identity our Greenville community and our BFS Flock can be proud of for years to come.
As such, Birds Fly South has decided to withdraw our scheduled participation in the upcoming Wicked Weed festival. This decision is not related to the individuals who work in the extensive Wicked Weed family, and does not come without our entire team involved. We are all trying to make the best choices for ourselves and our families. We understand this is a business decision for Wicked Weed, however we simply cannot participate with the direct lobby group that is influencing SC laws that in turn negatively impact our closest friends.
Our choice is to stand strong in unison with small independent craft breweries. To us this means focusing on what we need to do locally in support of smaller, independent brewers. The concepts and spirit of this craft beer fellowship are the foundation of who we are: an alliance of talented makers, united in our passion, ethics, and practices.
Tickets for the festival are still scheduled to go on sale this Saturday, May 6.