With a nod to Auggie Busch and his new bosses, last night at Monaghan’s our trivia team name was “This Bud’s for EU”, after trivia I heard that the Drudge Report used the same line – great minds think alike. At least for our This Bud’s for EU trivia team conquered all comers.
Although I was a wee lass in the 80′s, I have vivid memories of the news stories about the Japanese buying up hallmark US properties, media companies and golf courses amidst that period of the dollar and economy being weak. But IMHO, A-B could have held off inBev, if they had only kept up with the market trends in their business of mass distribution. I don’t believe the weak dollar and the economy is fully to blame.
For the past several years there has been been a lot of consolidation in the global brewing business. Take for example, Miller – that Champagne of beers. Miller, while HQ’d in Millwaukee Wisconson is owned by SAB Miller, the South African brew master of brands such as Grolsch, Peroni, Hoegaarden, Pilsner Urquell and everybody’s favorite – Olde English 800 Malt Liquor. Molsen bought Coors..and the list goes on. If A-B had flexed its muscle and cash reserves, they could have bought more beer brands and built a better defense. The soda business is much the same – just ask friendly folks at Coca-Cola. In these businesses where locked up distribution and globalized brands is everything, you either go big or go home.
I’m less concerned about inBev making drastic changes to the A-B brands that people in the US and other countries love (for their Americana kitsch) and more concerned about the lack of having any US brewer with scale. A-B gobbled up many of the craft brewers years ago, so they are now part of inBev. Heck, even little north woods Leinenkugel up in Chippewa Falls, Wisconson is part of inBev.
And being the self serving adman that I am – just thinking about the branding possibilities for that yet to be named brewer have me thirsting for some great ad work down the road. I wonder if DDB is thinking about this yet?
In the meantime I’ll continue to have a Bud every once-in-a-while as well as a Stella. And BTW did you know that in the UK and Europe that Stella is commonly referred to as “wife beater“, as in you belly up to the bar and order a wife beater and you will without question get a Stella. I found this out while going to lunch in London a couple of years back. As part of this deal, I sure hope domestic violence won’t be on the rise.
Who will become the last American brewer to step up the the plate and speak for American brewing? Anyone have thoughts/suggestions – I would love to hear from you.