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More Rumored Merger Action

Dealtalk: AB Inbev seen brewing up final mega deal (Reuters)

Another year, another set up rumors about brewery mergers. The name of the game on the big end of the brewing business is all about volume. For all we talk about flavor, passion and craft, it turns out that to be truly successful you need to remove a bunch of the first, have the second for money and use the third on marketing and business strategy as you try and push another 3 cents profit on a can of beer.

Now that the AB is no longer a shiny new jewel in the crown of Carlos Brito's Brazilian-Belgian-American empire, it's time to find new toys. The obvious one now is the South African-British-American SAB Miller.

According to the Reuters article linked above, SAB Miller is preparing to close on a deal for Fosters giving the company amazing global reach. AB, even in it's pre ABI days, was constantly on the prowl for opportunities to expand global market share. Reuters claims an overwhelming proportion of ABI's income is from America (semantic q? America as in the US or America as in the continents. This being a Brazilian company, I'm inclined to think the latter.) Part of the reason AB was vulnerable to take over was their "weak" positioning globally.

If the deal were to happen (and be unmolested by anti-trust laws - ha!) that would give the combined ABI/SAB control of 80% of US beer sales. That won't stand though as an inevitable portion of the deal will be to settle for 50% control of the US (AB) and sell the 30% share of Miller to Molson, which already partially owns Miller.

Ultimately, what impact will this have on you and I? Who knows. Minimal probably in terms of our favorite beverages and hobbies. Mergers may have more ramifications for things like the Craft Brewer's Alliance (ABI's stalking horse company of big craft brewers like Red Hook and Goose Island), less money for R&D (AB prior to the merger funded a metric fuckton of brewing science) and obviously less breweries in the world (ABI has a long history of brewery shutdowns).

But let the big boys fight for their pennies per can. It's just ironic that as the US (and the UK) both are busting previous brewery counts, the drumbeat of consolidation continues amongst the widgety beer factories.


Jeremy Hynd's picture

I'd rather the macros chase each other than take over and shut down the Goose Islands. You know at some point they're going to come back after the micros or start marketing the hell out of their Blue Moons (already happening to some extent) and their AC Goldens.

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