3. It could legitimize subsidiary brands
The entire craft beer market in the US produced 22 million barrels of beer in 2014. Sam Adams brewed 4.1 million of 'em -- just under 25%. This is an enormous craft beer company, so much so that the Brewers Association has rejiggered its definition of "craft" just to make sure Koch & co. weren't left out.
Considering BBC's comparative dominance within the craft marketplace, A&S bears some similarity to macro subsidiaries. For example, Tenth & Blake, an obliquely named craft/specialty umbrella in the MillerCoors family, owns Blue Moon, Leinenkugel, and several other familiar "crafty" labels. Those beers are commercially successful, but they don't get much (any?) respect amongst "serious" beer drinkers because they're not "serious" craft beers.
A&S could break that stigma down. No one's lying about where it comes from: A&S discloses its relationship to The Boston Beer Co. on its website (albeit deep in Newman's rambling mission statement), and on BBC's site, you can find mention of the subsidiary after a few clicks.
A&S' brands are subsidiaries. But because they're backed by serious craft brewing heritage & know-how, these subsidiary labels have a better shot to gain traction within the notoriously insular craft community. As the market becomes more saturated and brewers continue to consolidate, that sort of open-mindedness to craft-backed subsidiaries is going to be critical.
4. It gives aging brewers another option to sell
Brewer succession is another central question in craft beer these days. Many of the legacy craft breweries -- Sierra Nevada, Bell's, New Belgium -- have leadership closing in on retirement age. There are a few options: establish a stable corporate lineage, sell out (to a macro, or a private investor outside the beer industry), or shut down. A&S could be an in-between option. There's no word on what its expansion plans are, but given the general market trend, it's a safe bet that A) A&S will be looking to scarf up some breweries down the road, and B) breweries' founders will consider selling to another craft company before an outsider.
Dave Infante is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow @dinfontay on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.