As pretty much everyone knows by now, the InBev bid for Anheuser-Busch is now official, $46.36 billion worth of official! And with the likes of the Wall Street Journal intimating that A-B’s defenses are weak, it’s worth taking a quick look at who the potential winners might be should this deal go through.
So let’s start with SABMiller.
That’s right, the number two brewer in the US market would gain, at least domestically and in the short term, should the number one become even bigger globally. The prime reason for this, so far as I see it, relates to Budweiser’s iconic status as a definitive American brand. So strong is the jingoistic passion with which some view this beer than an online petition to keep A-B American has already garnered some 22,000 signatures I type these words, and likely many more by the time you read them, which leaves me little doubt that there would be a revolt of A-B drinkers should a foreign company gain control of the leading American brewer.
So where will Bud Light drinkers go? Likely to Coors Light or Miller Lite, never mind that the former is half and the latter fully foreign owned. And Budweiser imbibers? MGD, most probably, or High Life or perhaps PBR, the last of which is contract brewed by Miller.
Granted, the greatest impact of these defections would be felt in the short term and likely mitigated over time by poor memories and boycott fatigue, but you’ve got to wonder how many in the Bud drinker ranks will stay away once they’ve found a new brand that suits them just as well.