The Year in Brief: A-B InBev strikes mega-deal for SABMiller, continues craft brewery spree



 

In brief

The global beer market is on the verge of a major shake-up after two brewing giants with prominent American brands have agreed to combine in a $109 billion takeover deal.

The combination of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer, and SABMiller, the No. 2 global brewer, would create a behemoth that controls about half of the industry’s profits. The deal would allow A-B InBev, the Belgian brewery that owns St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch, to expand and more aggressively pursue growth in international markets, including Africa.


The Year in Brief offers a look at Missouri’s most important business stories of 2015 and previews how those stories could play out in 2016 and beyond. 


While the purchase of SABMiller represents a seismic shift in the global beer market, A-B InBev also set off several smaller tremors by expanding its portfolio of craft beers. Over the year’s final month, the company announced the acquisitions of Breckenridge Brewery, a Colorado-based craft brewer; Four Peaks Brewery, the largest craft beer operation in Arizona; and Camden Town Brewery, a London-based craft brewer.

At the same time, the Belgian brewer stoked concerns among some craft brewers by introducing new incentive programs that reward independent distributors if 98 percent of the beers they sell are A-B InBev brands.

In the future

To clear antitrust hurdles in the U.S., A-B InBev will sell SABMiller’s stake in the brewing joint venture MillerCoors, which controls the Coors Light and Blue Moon beer brands. The Belgian brewer also plans to sell off two of SABMiller’s popular European brands, Peroni and Grolsch, and may consider selling the U.K. craft brewer Brewing Co.

To allay antitrust concerns in China, SABMiller may also have to sell its 49 percent stake in China Resources Snow Breweries Co., maker of the world’s best-selling beer, according to Bloomberg.

In a graphic

Beer-Deal-Graphic

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