19 October 2007

Don't fear big beer

Today's New York Times has this interesting op-ed piece (registration required; go to Bugmenot.com to avoid registration).

From the article:
JUST 10 years ago, the proposed merger of SABMiller and Molson Coors into MillerCoors would have worried craft brewers. Back then, “American beer” was thought of as a cheap product with very little beer flavor. But today the United States has by far the most exciting beer culture in the world, and America’s 1,500 craft brewers are undaunted by the prospect of a juggernaut that would have 30 percent of the domestic market. The age of American industrial brewing is over.


  1. I heard AB has 48% of the market. When I heard that it made the Miller/Coors merger sound much less troublesome for the market. All of the breweries I spoke with about the merger while in Denver said they weren't really worried or surprised by it.

  2. The big guys getting bigger doesn't bother me as long as they don't start doing unfair things to the small, innovative craftbrewers. Think Starbucks and how they move near an established local coffeeshop and make their life hell with drive thrus and crappachinos. As long as the big guys play fair, let 'em merge. Maybe they will eventually learn that hops are really good in beer!

  3. I am curious how strong the big 3 (so is it big 2 now?) will try and start purchasing the little guys.

    Many micro-brews are owned by AB, SabMiller, and InBev, but they have remained fairly autonomous. Leinekugels is a great expample. They are owned by SabMiller, but they pretty much have freedom to do as they wish.

    With the big 3 tanking in profits there will have to be a push to grown their businesses, so once the importance to shareholders takes over what happens to the small crafter brewers that will no doubt be bought in the near future? Rolling Rock is an example. I always liked it, but now it's brewed by AB outside of PA and the taste difference and quality is gone.

    Many craft brewers will always be independent, but I think you will see the conglomeration on some in the near future. Just my take.