Craft Beer Industry Weighs-in on the AB-InBev SABMiller Merger

The deal has been in the works for a long time, but today Anheuser-Busch InBev formalized a deal to acquire its SABMiller for $107 billion, creating a monolithic global beer giant the likes of which the world has never known. In doing so, Anheuser-Busch Inbev is hoping to reach deeper into developing markets, like Africa and China. See our previous post to understand this story more completely.

It’s not so simple as saying, “Bud just bought Miller.” It’s a bit more complicated than that and the impact it has on those American brands is just one part of the story; however, it is an important part of the story in the eyes of the Brewers Association, which represents the interests of the craft brewing industry in America.

The Brewers Association weighed in on the topic today. Bob Pease, chief executive officer of the Brewers Association, released the following statement.

“The Brewers Association, the national trade association for America’s more than 4,000 small and independent breweries, is carefully reviewing the terms of the acquisition announced today by ABInBev and SABMiller, and, in the days ahead, we would urge the Congress and the Department of Justice to closely examine the potential effects on the U.S. marketplace and American consumers of this proposed deal.

“The size and scope of the ABInBev business has many ramifications for the U.S. beer industry, even with the divestiture of the MillerCoors joint venture.  The most obvious is that ABInBev is still by far the largest brewer and beer distributor in the United States.  It is vital for the continued success of small brewers that we have access to market with an independent and competitive middle distribution tier.

“Over time, ABInBev will have significant new global revenues to invest in the United States if it chooses to do so as a result of this acquisition.  The MillerCoors operation will undergo significant changes.  ABInBev’s new international footprint and scale give the company greater influence over commodities used in brewing and many other facets of the beer industry that could affect competition in the U.S. market.

“All of these issues – and their potential effect on small brewers, the broader industry and U.S. beer drinkers – must be carefully weighed and scrutinized by antitrust authorities.”