Should one beer behemoth control 70% of the US market

"Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall/ 99 bottles of beer/ Take one down, pass it around… only one bottle of beer on the wall."

“Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall/ 99 bottles of beer/ Take one down, pass it around… only one bottle of beer on the wall.”

The biggest beer conglomerate, Anheuser-Busch InBev, intends to gulp down the second biggest, SABMiller, leaving us with only one behemoth of brewing. The two mega-stouts of mass-marketing beer have agreed to a $104 billion dollar merger deal.

Enjoying Hightower? How about a weekly email that gives you the full scoop?

Both giants are creatures of the global merger-mania that has consumed the industry in the past decade. Anheuser-Busch was a St. Louis company built on the Budweiser brand, but it was taken over in 2008 by a Brazilian consortium that had previously merged with a huge European brewing conglomerate. So plain ol’ “Bud” is now AB InBev, headquartered in Belgium, and producing Corona, Stella Artois, Modelo, and a host of other brands.

Miller was a Milwaukee company until a similar series of mergers put it in the hands of a consortium controlled by a South American family dynasty and Altria, the tobacco giant that makes Marlboro cigarettes. Now headquartered in London and named SABMiller, its roster of brews include Peroni, Pilsner, Urquell, and Grolsch, plus it has joint ownership in the brands of the Canadian-based conglomerate, Molson Coors.

These two sultans of suds say that the ABInBevSABMiller conglomeration of conglomerates is necessary for “future growth.” Hogswill. For consumers and beer industry workers, the deal is about shrinkage. The new colossus would control 70 percent of all US beer sales and a whopping 30 percent of the entire world’s beer sales! It will not hesitate to use this monopolistic muscle to shrink consumer choice by squeezing independent breweries out of bars and retail outlets, and the merged entity is already planning to cut thousands of jobs.

That’s an awfully bitter beer.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

Never miss a word from Hightower– sign up today:

Send this to a friend