As more news comes out about the proposed merger between Anheuser Busch InBev (ABI) and Grupo Modello (GM), makers of Corona, the more one is convinced this will be a bad thing for the craft brewer.
Despite protestations to the contrary, this move is truly about CONTROL of distribution under two companies: ABI and SABMiller/Coors (SABM), which would amount to a Coke & Pepsi domination of the beer market, solidified by rules that make it nearly impossible for beer manufacturers to break agreements or leave their distribution relationships in most states. When was the last time you had a Cola, or any soft drink, that wasn’t made or distributed by either of the main beverage companies?
This is an excellent read on the topic: LINK
As cited in the article, ABI and SABM brands alone amount to 80% of the U.S. market. PBR’s 6% share is physically made by Miller, so that goes to them. Corona also controls 6%, which is larger than all 2000 U.S. craft brewers together. They amount to 5.7%, half of which is controlled by Sam Adams and Yuengling. Heineken brands control about 4% also.
This merger would basically allow 90% of the U.S. market, and therefore the distribution pull, to be controlled by two multi-national companies. Does anyone not think they’ll wield some influence on distribution networks and retailers to reduce, restrict or set aside little brands? According to the above-linked article, it happened in Ohio with ABI distributors who decided to carry Yuengling…and it happens elsewhere as we’ve long detailed on this site.
Does anyone think they won’t use their power to negatively impact smaller competitors? They’ve done it before, even enlisting the help of compliant news organizations who just happen to be supported by their advertising dollars.
UPDATE (14.2.13): ABI willing to sell Corona to save deal.