Anheuser-Busch sells out to InBev

Posted on July 14, 2008

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I enjoy a good beer, which is why I don’t enjoy Budweiser. I know from experience during my college days that the best use for Bud products is to get totally hammered inexpensively – after you’ve drank enough decent beer that you can’t taste the difference any more. And I say that as someone who grew up on (and still occasionally enjoys) Coors Extra Gold, a product from another brewery that is roundly and deservedly panned by my fellow beer snobs. So I understand anyone who grew up in St. Louis drinking Bud and who still does so from time to time.

For better or worse, Bud is viewed as “America’s beer,” and as such I was amazed when Belgian brewing giant InBev originally bid $46 billion for the company. I’m equally surprised now that the Anheuser-Busch board just accepted a $52 billion bid. The only rationale that I can come up with for InBev’s interest in Anheuser-Busch is that they want access to one of the best brands in the world rather than the actual beer (InBev makes a number of much, much, much better brews than Busch, Bud, et al. Stella Artois, Leffe, and Hoegaarden alone beat the hell out of anything that Anheuser-Bush makes, and those aren’t even the best tasting brands in InBev’s portfolio). The Anheuser-Busch unanimously board rejected the initial bid, but apparently an additional $6 billion ($52 billion total, or $70/share) was enough to remind the board of directors that there’s nothing more American, more patriotic than making money by selling out.

InBev has wasted no time in adding the Anheuser-Busch brands to their own list of brands. Here’s hoping that InBev can make the Anheuser-Busch beers taste better.

Cheers.

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