I'm surprised no one has stated the obvious yet: Who cares?
I think you're missing the pint many people have. It's not a "purist" thing. Personally I couldn't care less what what people drink or who makes it. The real issue is control of the distribution chain, which is the problem that has started surfacing with AB buying up breweries.
Denny is right. There's a serious concern for distribution control.
I also think that ZX Ventures acquired Northern Brewer for reasons of business analytics and data mining. Right from ZX's website:
"Underpinning everything we do is data. In order to create the future we need to understand what has (and hasn’t worked) in the past. We are hopelessly dedicated to mining insights and innovation using the latest technology and trends available. The more we know about our consumers and products, the better chance we have of anticipating their needs in the future."
AB InBev are no dummies and I doubt neither is ZX. They're probably getting their staff of Ivy League MBAs and engineers to run the same statistical models to figure out consumer preferences just like Amazon, the top online retailer.
".....this forecasting model uses data from your prior Amazon activity, including time on site, duration of views, links clicked and hovered over, shopping cart activity and wish lists. When possible, the algorithm also sprinkles in real-world information gleaned from customer telephone inquiries and responses to marketing materials, among other factors. "