Yesterday Charlie Papazian had an interesting post about recent production numbers of brewers worldwide and how the top Four brewing companies control 50% of the world’s beer. That’s due to the increasing mergermania in the brewing industry, with the recent purchase of Mexico’s FEMSA by Heineken but not including the announced acquisition of Grupo Modelo by Anheuser-Busch InBev. According to a UK Reuters report, the Top four brewers make up half [the] global beer market. The supporting data comes from a researcher for Plato Logic, a beer industry analyst company in Great Britain that produces their world beer report each October. Presumably his statistics are preliminary, taking into account changes in ownership that have taken place since the last report.
But roughly, here’s what his data shows in a chart I made, using the estimates given for millions of hectoliters produced by the top five beer companies. It shows the relatives sizes of them, and how the top four are so far out in front that it’s almost ridiculous and frankly, you can make that same argument for the top four or the top three. There’s a lot of separation, but one big merger and the deck gets shuffled again.
Though the production numbers aren’t given for the bottom half of the top ten, here they are by rank.
- Anheuser-Busch InBev
- SAB Miller
- Grupo Modelo
- Beijing Yanjing Brewery (China)
Estimating world beer production (it’s not given in the article) from the Beer Institute’s Brewer’s Almanac, I made the chart below to show how the top four do indeed account for just north of half the beer produced in the world.
And finally, including number five Tsingtao, here’s how the overall picture looks.
I find the use of “control” as in who controls how much of the beer production interesting. Of the top “controllers” beer I drink none, my consumption being limited to craft beer and my own home brew. So, for me, they control nothing. Furthermore, their “control” doesn’t seem to prevent craft beers’ growth. So, is it control at all?
In the end the consumer controls what they consume, not beer companies. Were only Bud and the like available, I would avoid beer altogether in favor of wine and my own home brewed beer. So much for the beer companies control!