Anheuser-Busch announced today that they would be extending their portfolio of imports to include Singapore’s Tiger Beer, a product of Asia Pacific Breweries. This is the scond such announcement in less than a month, when in late February A-B also announced distribution of the Dutch beer Grolsch.
From the press release:
Anheuser-Busch will become the U.S. importer of Tiger Beer, a leading premium brew from Singapore, expanding the American brewer’s portfolio in the growing U.S. import category, the two brewers jointly announced today.
The agreement gives Tiger Beer access to Anheuser-Busch’s broad marketing and sales expertise and to its wide-reaching U.S. distribution network, which is considered the best in the industry. The deal follows the recent announcement of a similar partnership with the Dutch brewer, Grolsch, continuing an aggressive push by Anheuser-Busch into the high-end beer category.
“Tiger Beer is recognized as one of Asia’s finest beer exports,” said August A. Busch IV, president of Anheuser-Busch Inc. “Tiger Beer is a high-quality, premium brand that is a perfect complement to our growing portfolio of import beers.”
Imported beers represent approximately 12.4 percent of the total U.S. beer market, selling 25.6 million barrels in 2005.* The segment grew about 7.2 percent in 2005* and has experienced an average growth rate of 5 percent over the past five years, making it one of the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. beer market.
* Department of Commerce Data provided by the Beer Institute [who we already know cannot be trusted — editor’s note. See my previous rant about the Beer Institute’s being in thrall to A-B via the Here’s to Beer ad campaign.]
The agreement will be effective May 1, 2006. Terms were not disclosed. The imported Tiger Beer will continue to be brewed at Asia Pacific Breweries’ Singapore brewery for export to the United States.
Anheuser-Busch is focused on expanding its participation in the import and high-end beer categories as a key growth strategy for its U.S. business. Anheuser-Busch brews and sells two of Japanese brewer Kirin Brewery’s beer brands in the United States – Kirin Ichiban and Kirin Light. In some areas of the country, Anheuser-Busch wholesalers carry Corona and the other beer brands of Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo.
So if you’ve been following along, this is just the latest by an increasingly desperate looking Anheuser-Busch. It’s not that Tiger Beer is bad — it really isn’t — but taken together with all the mischief the King of (Flavorless) Beers has been up to lately to get revenue and the share price back up after a truly disastrous 4th quarter last year, it’s just becoming more and more painful to watch. In my fantasies I’d like to believe this is their death rattle, but I know better. They’re not only not going away any time soon, they’ll be around long after I shake off my mortal boil. But that doesn’t change the true enjoyment out of watching them squirm and struggle, even if it’s only a very little bit.