Elysian Brewing cofounder Dick Cantwell resigns three months after Anheuser-Busch takeover

"Brewmaster" (Image: Jeanine Anderson via Flickr)

“Brewmaster” (Image: Jeanine Anderson via Flickr)

When CHS asked Elysian Brewing cofounder and craft brewer Dick Cantwell if he would stay on with his company after it was bought out in January by one of the largest brewing corporations in the world, he only said “we’ll see.”

After three months under Anheuser-Busch control, Cantwell is now saying goodbye to the company, his Seattle-based brewery, and it’s E Pike pub. An Elysian spokesperson confirmed Cantwell’s departure Monday afternoon after Seattle Beer News reported the news.

Cantwell has not yet responded to an email request for comment on his resignation and what might come next for the brewmaster.

A pillar of the region’s craft brewing scene, Cantwell was the most hesitant of the three cofounders about the sale to Anheuser-Busch, the U.S. arm of international brewing conglomerate InBev.

CHS spoke with Cantwell earlier this year, as well as with CEO Joe Bisacca, who enthusiastically supported the buyout. Shortly after the sale, Cantwell told CHS he had “mixed feelings” about the takeover. Not helping matters was one of Budweiser’s hugely expensive Super Bowl ads that mocked craft beer for being too pretentious. Cantwell called the ad “tone-deaf” and “painful.”

Along with David Buhler, Bisacca and Cantwell opened Elysian in 1996 at its 13th and E Pike location.

Cantwell literally helped define craft beer in the U.S. when he was a board member of the Brewers Association. After decades of advocating for craft brewers in the state, selling his brewery to a company like AB InBev was a tough draught for Cantwell to swallow. Ultimately, he said it was the Elysian board of directors that made the call.

In February, Bisacca told CHS that the E Pike pub would essentially remain the same in the wake of the AB InBev buyout.

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15 thoughts on “Elysian Brewing cofounder Dick Cantwell resigns three months after Anheuser-Busch takeover

  1. Great news! Can’t wait to drink Dick Cantwell’s next beer project.

    Also, sorry Mr. Cantwell for shooting you a dirty look when we locked eyes in the aisle at the QFC on 15th, the day after Elysian sold out. I was shocked and mourning the sudden death of my used-to-be-favorite local brewery.

    Bring on the brews!

    • I heard from an insider that he willingly signed off on the sale (money was too good to walk away) and then proceeded to peacock around AS IF! p.s. this wasn’t a 3 person vote, it was actually 5 and all involved signed off willingly.

    • Possibly but that would be dumb of them. I doubt InBev is worried about competitors other than other multi-billion dollar conglomerates. More likely he’d create another lucrative brand that they would later buy and add to their portfolio so to speak.

    • Something *has* changed. Your money is no longer supporting a local brew pub, it’s going to a mega-corporation. But few in Seattle seem concerned about this any longer. I was glad to hear Cantwell resigned. He is keeping his integrity. We resigned as customers months ago and would gladly support any future endeavor of his should he decide to go that route.

  2. P.S. He had very little to do with the advancement of this company. Everyone who knows anything knows this. Poor little millionaire brewer

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