Here's Maureen Ogle, author of Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer, on the brewing chickens coming home to roost for Anheuser-Busch ... maybe.
... our Budweiser, a beer as American as baseball and barbecue -- is about to become Belgian (and Brazilian too). "No!" I wail, tears splashing into my beer, when I hear that Carlos Brito, chief executive of InBev, the Belgian-Brazilian corporate behemoth headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, wants to acquire Budweiser.The commentary was printed in the Outlook section of Sunday's Washington Post. Ogle concludes:
<...> Anheuser-Busch is the target of an aggressor's hostile takeover bid, but usually, it plays the role of the bad guy.
In 2006, Anheuser-Busch snapped up the Rolling Rock brand brewed at Latrobe Brewing Company of Latrobe, Pa. A travesty, many declared. How dare that nasty corporate giant destroy a Latrobe tradition and move the brewing process to (ugh) Newark? The people of Latrobe (population 9,000; the brewery was a major employer) begged the company not to shut down its plant. The St. Louis brewing titan shrugged, and that was that. It's worth noting, however, that Anheuser-Busch purchased Latrobe from . . . InBev.
Besides, the Brazilianization of Bud doesn't mean the end of American beer. That same story of little guys creating something from nothing is unfolding right now in more than 1,400 breweries around the country. In 1978, there were only a few dozen brewing companies in the United States. In the intervening 30 years, the industry has exploded in size, and today the United States boasts the most dynamic, creative brewing culture in the world.
The Latrobe brewery is active again, by the way, having been purchased by City Brewing Company of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, itself the remains of the former brewing giant G. Heilemann. A significant amount of Sam Adams beer is brewed there under contract.
Previous, related posts:
- MillerCoors (and BevBud?) [02 July 2008]
- Don't Cry For Me, Saint Louis. [29 June 2008]
- A-B vs. Interbrew: The battle is joined. [26 June 2008]
- Will InBev's Bud hurt craft brewers? [15 June 2008]
- It's now a matter of dollars and euros at Anheuser-Busch [12 June 2008]
- A-B deathwatch: 1 June
- Bud to be sold? part3
- Bud to be sold? part2
- Budweiser for sale?
- InBev now world's largest brewer (over A-B)