By Andy Young

The trend of large breweries buying up craft brewers has continued with Constellation Brands saying it will pay US$1 billion for Californian craft brewer Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits.

The purchase follows similar moves recently by AB InBev, Heineken NV and Asahi, which bought Mountain Goat in September.

Constellation became the third largest US brewer in 2013 after it acquired the rights to Corona, Modelo Especial and other Mexican beers from AB InBev during the Belgian brewer's acquisition of Grupo Modelo.

Constellation's chief executive, Rob Sands, said Ballast Point can now expand its distribution and increase sales through its new owner.

"We see the craft category continuing to grow double digits for the foreseeable future and take a significant share of the beer business over the next 10 years," Sands said. "We have no interest in anything below the high end of beer, so this is a particularly good opportunity. Ballast Point is so premium that it actually enhances our premium position in beer even above where it is."

The Shout Team

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