According to E.J. Schultz of AdAge.com, Big Beer is jumping on the cider bandwagon as MillerCoors acquires Crispin Cider Co. and Anheuser-Busch moves to launch a new product under their Ultra umbrella: Michelob Ultra Light Cider. How do I feel about this? I think it could go either way. This isâ€¦ Drunk, Counterdrunk. Huzzah! Big Cider is an excellent development! Cider has a complicated place in American drinking culture. For many, it carries the same stigma as hard lemonade, but â€œmanyâ€ could not be more wrong. Â The first time I saw hard lemonade, I was in a basement in high school and two girls were splitting a 6-pack of Mikeâ€™s Hard. But the first time I saw hard cider, I was in a bar in college when an enormous, British, terrifying friend of mine shoved a snakebite (Guinness and cider cocktail) in my face. Â True, both are alcoholic versions of… Read More »
Did you know that Inbev owned Labatt USA? Yeah, me neither. I’m not saying I’m surprised. It’s just that that little factoid hadn’t floated my way. Now we all know that Labatt is Canadian. This is something that its marketers are determined not to let us forget. Labatt USA is the brewer’s legal presence in the US. It handles importing the beer, arranging for its distribution and its marketing. While under Inbev’s control Labatt USA moved from Connecticut to Buffalo, NY. According to the article, Labatt and Anheuser-Busch brands are the two biggest sellers in Buffalo so this is a logical move. It seems likely to me that Inbev would have continued its control of the successful brand but for a requirement by the justice department that they had to unload the Blue. Apparently someone somewhere had the sense to observe that perhaps one company shouldn’t control 99.99% of the… Read More »
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been fascinated to watch the anit-Anheuser-Busch Inbev movement over the last few months. Since the takeover of the American brewer by Belgium based Inbev a loud minority of beer drinkers have advocated a drink-American-only policy. Their latest efforts have focused on convincing Americans to drink Sam Adams on Super Bowl Sunday this weekend instead of anything from the big three. I have to wonder if Jim Koch foresaw these events when he formed the Boston Brewing Company and established its flagship brew, Sam Adams Boston Lager almost three decades ago. Probably not. Back during the Reagan years whoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢dÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve thunk that the three brewers that dominated American beer, Anheuser-Busch, Miller and Coors, would all be foreign owned by the time the vice-presidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s administration was over. (And whoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢dÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve thunk that that son would be George and not Jeb but thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s another conversation.) But thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what happened and suddenly we have… Read More »
It should come as no real surprise that Inbev shareholders have approved the deal to buy Anheuser-Busch. Only two more hurdles remain – approval by Anheuser-Busch shareholders and regulatory clearance Ã¢â‚¬â€œ but thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s little doubt that the big beer buy will go through. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s interesting that this was the year Anheuser-Busch starting pushing the idea of Ã¢â‚¬Å“American lagerÃ¢â‚¬Â and Ã¢â‚¬Å“American ale.Ã¢â‚¬Â Although the marketing plans were in place well before the first offer from Inbev some are already pointing to the brewerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s use of American as a cynical attempt to make beer drinkers overlook the foreign ownership. I suspect that this perception will deepen with time as people look back at 2008 as the year Inbev bought A-B and the same year that American began to appear prominently on the advertising and labels for Budweiser. Actually they began using American because they decided that with Budweiser American Ale they would… Read More »
A-B and I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t always see eye-to-eye on whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s good beer. I could live a life-time without having another Budweiser lager and die a happy man. But theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re releasing three new brews this month that are forcing me to reconsider my opinion of Anheuser-Busch beer. You should check them out. First is the Budweiser American Ale. For now weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll overlook the ostentatious claim that with this beer Bud is Ã¢â‚¬Å“defining American ale,Ã¢â‚¬Â something they missed the boat on years ago if it was ever possible at all to define ale with one beer. The beer itself is really quite enjoyable. I tried some at a beer festival back in May and was unimpressed with the sweet, characterless brew. But the brewmaster told me that they were still tweaking the recipe and I must say theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve had a productive summer. They shipped a couple of bottles to me recently that it… Read More »
No, this isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t another post about making your beer green. One was enough. This oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s about environmentally friendly beer. Yesterday Anheuser-Busch issued a press release promising that by the end of 2009 they plan to have 1 in 7 of their beers brewed entirely using renewable fuel. In case you didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know, brewing beer uses a lot of energy and water. It takes a lot of energy to boil then cool beer during brewing. And it takes a lot of water and energy to clean up after and get ready for the next brew. I read somewhere that it takes around seven gallons of water per one gallon of beer produced using traditional methods. With a lot of effort the greener brewers have been able to get that down to three to one. So any progress that A-B can make in this direction is a positive thing. But is it… Read More »
Well, we can finally put this one to bed. The Inbev take-over of Anheuser-Busch was settled yesterday. Now itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s up to the lawyers to work out the details. Anheuser-Busch Inbev will be the new company making Budweiser when itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s said and done. (If you want to get an in-depth look at the brewery that was Anheuser-Busch check out American Originals: Budweiser this Thursday on CNBC.) The sun came up this morning. There were no earthquakes in St. Louis Ã¢â‚¬â€œ I know because I live near enough to have felt them. Babies are being born and yeast still makes beer. The world moves on and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll wager that most beer drinkers wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even really notice the transition. Oh, there might be a bit of wailing and people swearing that theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re never going to drink Ã¢â‚¬Å“that crapÃ¢â‚¬Â again. There are even going to be some that declare Budweiser is now undrinkable even… Read More »
If Inbev does wind up going through with the take-over of Anheuser-Busch the battle isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t necessarily lost. It could be reversed.
In case you havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t heard European beer giant Inbev appears to be making moves to take over Anheuser-Busch. Overall I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think that this move would really mean that much. LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s consider a couple of recent instances of big beer mergers and acquisitions.
Even if Inbev does take over Anheuser-Busch, Budweiser isn’t going anywhere. The brand is simply too valuable.