Friday, March 02, 2007

InBev now world's largest brewer (over A-B)

Rapacious brewery buyer (and closer) Inbev surpassed Anheuser-Busch in 2006 as the world's largest brewer - in terms of sales income. But if one looks in terms of barrels sold of core brands, Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser, etc.) still could be considered the largest brewery in the world.

InBev's true nature - don't give a whit about beer as beer but merely as a tool to get richer - was revealed when it purchased the DeWulf-Cosyns maltings in the late 1990s.

DWC's malts - especially unique Special B - were used by many independent breweries in Belgium, and by US craft breweries emulating Belgian-style beers. At the time of the purchase, InBev (then called InterBrew), stated that it wished to improve the quality of the maltings.

So what it do a few months later? It closed the malting house. Without explicitly stating so, InBev's actions showed its true colors - remove competition by denying a reliable source of quality ingredients to competitors, even if those competitors' sales were miniscule in comparison to InBev.

And when, for just two other examples, InBev purchased Hoegarden and Leffe, it lessened those beers. Ah well ... business is business, isn't it?

In Bev once billed itself as something to the effect of the World's Largest Local Brewery and as a Belgian brewery even though its headquarters are in London.

I believe that InBev is positioning itself for an acquisition by Anheuser-Busch, itself which just on 1 February 2007 became the US distributor of most of InBev's brands.

From today's Washington Post:

InBev's Sales Top Anheuser-Busch

InBev surpassed Anheuser-Busch as the world's largest brewer on sales of Beck's in Eastern Europe and Brahma in Latin America. Annual sales were $16.7 billion, compared with $15.7 billion at Anheuser-Busch, the U.S. producer of Budweiser.

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