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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Musings on Miller/Coors

Some random thoughts on the merger announced this week between Miller and Coors of their US operations:

  • Savings of 500 million dollars? How many jobs will be lost in the interest of 'enhanced synergies' or some such babble?
  • Existing distributor networks? Although Coors and Miller already share many distributor networks, there still will be many changes. Who will get what, who loses what, what craft brewers get caught in the crossfire?
  • What will a combined salesman sell: Miller Lite or Coors Light? Might the two brands be an inventory redundancy?
  • For ten years, there can be no unsolicited offer by one brewery for the shares of the other. But what's to stop a stockholder-approved mutual agreement to merge all operations before that ten year stricture?
  • Will ingredients become scarcer for craft brewers? Will the mega-mega brewers squeeze the suppliers?
  • Recall how InterBrew, now InBev, purchased the DeWolf-Cosyns maltings a few years back, only to close it shortly thereafter in 2002, thus denying a source of high-quality specialty malts to small Belgian breweries, and American craft breweries? Ask old-timer craft brewers about DWC's indeed special 'Special B'. It is no longer available even though another maltster produces something similar under the same name.
Did Miller and Coors just throw in the towel? Or have they thrown down the gauntlet for a newer, nastier, internecine international battle?

Stay tuned.

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