Why Anheuser-Busch Acquired Babe Wine From These Social Media Influencers

By Annie Baker ● July 9, 2019
  • Anheuser-Busch — the world’s largest brewer — recently announced it was acquiring Babe Wine from these Instagram influencers
  • These are the details behind the deal

Anheuser-Busch, the world’s largest brewer, announced recently that it was acquiring a wine brand that grew into popularity via social media called Babe Wine. Babe Wine was co-founded by Instagram personality Josh Ostrovsky — who promotes the Babe Wine brand through his Instagram account “thefatjewish” (currently at 10.3 million followers).

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Back when Babe Wine first started, it was known as Swish Beverages and it first launched with a brand of wine called White Girl Rosé in 2015. Now Babe Wine is selling wine in cans — which has especially become popular with millennials on both coasts during the summer months and is replacing six-packs of beer at pool parties and picnics.

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Anheuser-Busch does not have much of a presence outside of beer and the company took a minority stake in Babe Wine last year via the ZX Ventures division — which focuses on smaller brands that are outside of the beer market. The terms of the deal were undisclosed.

By acquiring Babe, Anheuser-Busch will have access to a brand that is preferred by younger consumers. And Anheuser-Busch believes it can drive more sales with increase distribution.

“It’s a really staid category,” said Anheuser-Busch InBev’s VP of Sales and Marketing Brendan Whitworth via Bloomberg. “We think this is the right time to capitalize on what’s going on in canned wine space and wine in general.”

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Ostrovsky founded Babe Wine with the brother-team behind the @whitegrlproblem Twitter account (more than 674,000 followers) David Oliver Cohen and Tanner Cohen. The trio initially launched rosé in bottles before the canned wine business took off. Babe now sells pinot grigio, rosé and red wines in cans.

And the idea for Babe Wine started as Ostrovsky learned that his followers strongly preferred rosé and saw an opportunity after there was a shortage of the beverage in the Hamptons in 2014.

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Ostrovsky had a goal of making a brand of wine that could be cited as a brand and could go viral on social media. “We wanted to be the Bud Light of wine,” added Ostrovsky in an interview via Bloomberg.

Some of the other side projects that AB InBev is working on include a partnership with Keurig Dr Pepper to commercialize a machine called Drinkworks (Keurig machine for cocktails). AB InBev also owns Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer.