The interwebs are all atwitter at the news today that American beer mega-producer Anheuser-Busch will be sold to Belgian powerhouse InBev for a cool $52 billion dollars. Many are crying out at the #1 US brewer being sold off to a foreign company, how it’ll be bad for AB and bad for the US, but to anybody who’s been paying attention, this should come as no surprise.
The fact is that Anheuser-Busch has been mismanaged for years now, and while most consumers only know them by their flagship brands Budweiser and Bud Light (and other derivatives like Bud Select and Bud Ice), they handle a number of other beverages. I don’t want to turn this into a big long business analysis, but to anybody who noticed their “Jekyll and Hyde” blunder or knows the vomitocious wonder of their clam and tomato juice (and of course beer) Chelada drink-like concoction know that they’ve been slipping lately. There’s a lot of other reasons why they’re screwing up (poor marketing of brands like Bud Select and Tilt, letting Bud Lime get out without anybody taste-testing it, allowing Bacardi Silver Mango Mojito to exist, not playing up potential big winners like Shock-Top, etc.) but they’ve been in need of new management and brand-handling for a long time, and they’ve seemed complacent to change anything that needed changing. So it’s a great buy for InBev, who handles big-time imports like Stella Artois, Becks. Bass, Boddingtons and at least four other brands that begin with “B”, who will now be able to add a whole slew of other B-beers to their stable.
And to those panicking about lost American jobs and whatnot…calm the hell down. Anheuser-Busch is THE #1 producer of beer in the states, and they’re not going to be shutting down production anytime soon. How cost-effective do you think it would be to move production of the #1 US beer out of the US, only to have to ship it back to us? InBev isn’t stupid, they know many US drinkers aren’t happy about the takeover, but give them a chance. They wouldn’t have the clout (or the cash) to buy out AB if they weren’t good at making and selling beer. They’re actually branding it as AB and InBev “combining” instead of a buyout, which shows they’re not planning on destroying the beers or brand you’ve come to know and love.
So relax, interwebs. Time will only tell as to what this will mean down the line, but rest assured your favorite Anheuser-Busch brands aren’t going anywhere. Unless your favorite brand is Bud Light Chelada, in which case you deserve whatever you get.