Lots of European beers have contracted with regional breweries in North America over the past 20 years or so. It saves money and saves the beer from damage during shipping, and the beer you get is much fresher.
The North American brewery may be owned by one of the big brewing companies, or it might be a smaller, mid-sized brewery operation owned by someone else. It doesn’t really matter, since the water used will be adjusted to match the qualities found in the water at the original European brewery’s location, and the yeasts used will come from the same colony as the original brewery used, etc. When my customers say that “it just doesn’t taste the same,” they are right–because everything tastes better when you are on vacation or at a nostalgic location. But, if you can’t get to the area where your favorite beer was first brewed, these contract brews are a close 2nd.
And as you alluded to in your original post, when it comes to beer, buying local (regardless of the size of the brewery) is the name of the game. It’s fresher, it keeps local folks in jobs, it involves less fossil fuel, etc.