Land of the Giants

U.S. beer industry becoming battle of AB InBev vs. MillerCoors

Published in CSP Daily News

LEUVEN, Belgium & CHICAGO -- The battle of Bud Light versus Coors Light is starting to look more like Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona against Miller, Coors and Blue Moon, reported The Chicago Tribune.

Last week's announcement that Anheuser-Busch InBev had agreed to buy Corona-maker Grupo Modelo (see Related Content below for previous CSP Daily News coverage) is the latest move in a long trend of consolidation in the beer market, leaving it increasingly about two giant players--AB InBev, based in Leuven, Belgium, and MillerCoors, based in Chicago.

Competitors SABMiller, based in London, and Molson Coors Brewing Co., based in Denver, established a joint venture to manage their brands in the United States in 2008. The resulting MillerCoors has also established a craft and import division, which houses brands like Blue Moon, Peroni, Leinenkugel, Pilsner Urquell and Crispin Cider.

AB InBev, which became the world's largest brewer after the takeover over St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch in 2008, will be unable to manage the Modelo brands in the United States after the deal closes, said the report, because the additional brands would send the company's domestic market share past 50%.

Modelo brands like Corona, Pacifico and Modelo Especial will continue to be managed domestically by Chicago-based Crown Imports, which will be owned by Constellation Brands based in Victor, N.Y. Mexico City-based Grupo Modelo is selling its 50% stake in Crown to Constellation as a result of its acquisition (see Related Content below for previous coverage).

AB InBev will continue to busy itself with Bud Light, America's best-selling beer, along with Michelob, Shock Top and other brands consumers might not associate with the brewing giant, including Stella Artois, Hoegaarden, Bass and Beck's, the report said.

Click here to see a graphic illustrating the U.S> beer industry.