A Time of Mergers and Changes in the Beer World

For the casual beer drinker, the world of brewing seems like a pretty static place.  Those who know beer only by the labels on the bottle or the package design might think that things rarely change in this realm.  However, this is far from the actual situation. Many changes have rocked the brewing world, and there are more changes afoot. 

One of the most infamous changes, of course, was the takeover of Anheuser-Busch by Belgium-based InBev.  The hostile takeover made headlines around the world, and marked the end of an American icon.  Of course, for the loyal fans of Budweiser and other beverages manufactured by this megalithic company, those changes haven't really been that noticeable, but for industry observers, they seemed to spark a trend.

Less than a year previously, SABMiller merged with Molson Coors to form a powerful conglomerate that might actually be able to overtake Anheuser-Busch as the nation's most powerful brewery.  In fact, at the time, SABMiller was the second most popular brand, while Coors was the nation's number three choice. 

Following this trend, the beginning of 2010 marked a potential merger between Heineken and FEMSA (the Mexican beer powerhouse).  Of course, there have been other trends in the world, such as the buyout of Miller by SAB (South African Breweries), as well as the purchase of Scottish and Newcastle by Heineken and Carlsberg.  In fact, it seems like the most prominent trend for the international brewing scene is one of mergers and consolidation.

In the world of craft brewing, the story seems to be much different, though.  For instance, Sam Adams (Boston Beer Company) has shown remarkable sales and is definitely holding its own in the world of Wall Street.  AB-InBev and SABMiller have continued to lose market share to smaller brewing companies as the tastes and desires of beer drinkers around the nation (that's you) change.  A higher demand for craft beers has led to another significant change in the industry – a focus on creating craft beers in the major national breweries.

For instance, MillerCoors owns Tenth and Blake Beer Company, which produces the new line of "craft" beers the company has been touting.  These include Blue Moon and Leinenkugel’s both owned by MillerCoors. It remains to be seen if the addition of craft beers to the major companies' product offerings will cement their popularity once more, though.

 

Posted on September 1, 2010 and filed under The Business of Beer.