Written by Charlie Papazian
Four brewing companies control and brew half of the world’s beer. They are Belgian-based Anheuser-Busch Inbev, London-listed SABMiller (South African Breweries Miller), Dutch Heineken and Danish Carlsberg. In a report by Bloomberg last week the last two years of consolidation were summed up with the hefty sum of $75 billion worth of acquisitions. To what end?
In a featured example and with seemingly great pride, Carlsberg teamed up with Heineken in 2008 to buy and break up Scottish & Newcastle for $11.9 billion. Scottish & Newcastle formerly a major U.K. brewing company is no more, as can also be said of the English, Scottish and even Irish brewing industry. Except that the void is being trickle-filled with hundreds of microbrewery startups who are somehow appealing to local markets.
In the world of mega companies brewing megabranded beers the consolidation and acquisition game continues to play out. Anheuser-Busch Inbev and Heineken are currently in the process of gobbling up Mexico’s largest brewing companies, Modelo and FEMSA respectively.