Once the takeover of Anheuser-Busch by InBev is completed, a curious thing will happen to the landscape of American brewing. It’s certainly something I never expected to be writing in my lifetime, but it’s true. The Boston Beer Co., who brew the Samuel Adams line of beers, will be the biggest brewer in America.
Once the merger of the two companies is finalized, Anheuser-Busch InBev, will be a Belgian company. MillerCoors consists of MolsonCoors, managed from Canada, and SABMiller, which is either a South African or London-based company, depending on your point of view. That leaves Pabst, the fourth largest beermaker by volume, but they do not own a brewery, instead contracting to have all their beer made at Miller’s breweries. So in terms of actual brewers (that is companies that own and operate a brewery) and who are U.S. owned, the biggest one remaining will be Boston Beer, making Samuel Adams as the undisputed biggest American brewer. Way to go, Jim. It also means Yuengling, America’s oldest brewery, becomes number two and Sierra Nevada comes in third. Amazing, simply amazing!
Raise a toast to Jim Koch, whose Boston Beer Co. will soon be the biggest American brewer.
Keith Brainard says
What a great perspective on this story!
It is only a matter of time before there is just one company called “Beer”. It will sure be a lot easier than saying InbevHeinekinSABMillerCoorsDiageoCarlsberg.
I love it… while I will miss AB (to some degree) and the question of what happens to their theme parks, I will raise a glass to Boston Beer – Stay American owned!
Stan Hieronymus says
I have no numbers in from of me as I type this on a campground picnic table, but if you add the three Yuengling facilities together (the two in Pa. and one in Florida) don’t they top Boston Beer?
If not, they surely would if Twisted Tea were excluded.
Hey,cheers to Boston Beer, but curious about the numbers (typed the many traveling without his library . . .)
Not according to the latest list the BA put out in April, which had Yuengling at #6, behind Boston Beer.
Top 10 from that post:
1. Anheuser-Busch; #1 last year, no surprises
2. Miller Brewing; ditto for #2
3. Coors Brewing; And #3, too
4. Pabst Brewing; And #4, too
5. Boston Beer Co.; Second year at #5, having moved up 2 spots the previous year
6. D. G. Yuengling and Son; Same as last year
7. Sierra Nevada Brewing; Same as last year
8. New Belgium Brewing; Up 1 spot from #9 last year
9. High Falls Brewing; Up 1 spot from #10 last year
10. Spoetzl Brewery; Split off from Gambrinus, which last year was #8
Amy Mittelman says
Jay, This is a very interesting comment. I also like your name for the new company -InBusch. I was watching T.V. and saw an ad for Budweiser -“The Great American lager”. Do you think they will have to change that ad.
Imagine: The top American brewer makes beer that actually tastes good. It’s a first!
Americans can STILL stop this sale. If Anheuser-Busch fans and customers were to inundate Congress with letters expressing a will for Congress not to approve the sale, then I guarantee you that the sale will not be approved by regulators.
Not to mention, Sam Adams is FAR superior to Bud. So long as AB does not lose their pro Second Amendment stance, and support for the sport.
Lew Bryson says
I’m with Stan…I’d like to see some real numbers on that Sam Adams/Yuengling thing. And with BBC now actually producing beer at the Lehigh Valley (or Upper Macungie, as they’re wonderfully calling it) plant, you can’t even accuse me of chauvinism! Mostly I’d like to see numbers because I know they’re close, and I’d like to see how Yuengling is doing, and I’m too lazy to dig it out myself…oops.
Lew (and Stan). Why do I have to do all the heavy lifting? I’m satisfied using the most recent rankings from the BA survey released in April. I’m sure it is close, but as this post was originally meant to be fun (you know, not overly serious) I’m not too concerned if the numbers have changed between April and mid-July. Unless you’re both suggesting that the BA numbers were wrong? In that case you’re on your own if you want to prove it.
a Belgian says
I don’t really understand what all the fuzz is about…American companies have been taking over other foreign companies for decades…
It would be a bit naive to think that a foreign company couldn’t do the same with an American company…
I’m not saying it’s a good thing though…competition is good for any market…and it’s slowly disappearing…
But still, i’m a bit proud off our (Anhauser-Bush) Inbev!!
AB will be in the hands of some excellent craftsmen…
The tradition of Belgian beers/brewers is…well…very renowned to say the least
For what it’s worth: Monday’s Wall Street Journal mentioned that Sam Adams would become the largest American-owned brewery in their article about the purchase on Monday. I’m sure they do fairly accurate fact checking.
Maybe the new company can improve the quality of the AB products, and follow the German purity law, as most European beers do. As it is most american mass produced beers are just a chemical stew, and use what ever grain then can get the cheapest such as rice instead of barley.
Bryan Mortimer says
Boston Beer makes a superior product. It about time we change our drinking habits and become more particular about what we consume, instead of swallowing every swill that’s marketed to us. Buy bud, buy miller, buy coors, it’s all the same, might as well be made in China.
Long live real American beer, like what our forefathers made! Thanks Sam Adams for a great beer (or two!)
Greg Owsley says
Greg from the 4th largest American brewery here. The novelty of saying that hasn’t worn off yet, though the real value only lies in the humor as the leap in New Belgium’s ranking had zero to do with us. It feels like winning a tournament by the opponents’ forfeit.
In our local paper yesterday, Ft. Collins’ citizens were quoted with how un-American A-B’s decision was, but isn’t it, by great measure, the most American thing Bud could have done? I mean wasn’t it a move with total capitalistic laser focus on the almighty shareholder? I have two soccer buddies here in FC who both work at our local Bud plant, both have lots of stock, and both are thrilled. Retire relatively rich, the American dream.
I would also add that the most American thing the rest of us non-A-B shareholding beer drinkers can do is support craft beer from Jim’s beer to your neighborhood brewpub. Because free enterprise is right in our US hearts next to shareholder value and the space for us small brewers to freely enterprise just got, well, smaller. At New Belgium, we don’t feel like the 4th largest brewer of anything when we consider how our micro clout with distributors, chains, and megastores just got that much smaller. The craft beer revolution was fueled by consumer demand, pull, desire and now, more than ever, we’re gonna need the people to stand up for their right to drink a variety of good beer. Let’s not let the global giants get control of our palettes.
Alex in DC says
OK then. If I have to choose between Sam, Yuengling, and Sierra(and the specialty variations that these three brewers produce) then I’ll have no problem drinking American for the rest of my life. Anytime Europeans get their hands on American companies they run them into the ground by maximizing profits in the short term. They do this by divesting the company’s capital & personnell infrastructure and then running on the good brand name that was built by American entrepreneurship. Eventually the product quality fails and they’re forced to sell again as the stock value declines. Look what happened to Giant Food (a once- great supermarket in the Washington, D.C. area). It was stellar while it was family owned, then they sold it to some Eurotrash investors and now they’re closing all over the place and loosing market share because they can’t keep up with the new guys on the block like Whole Foods, Wegmans etc. Safeway on the other hand is holding firm against the new guys.
Markus Rietschi says
Not the “biggest” is the issue… I hope Boston Beer Company will always be and remain “THE BEST”.
A similar thing happened in England when Ford, BMW, VW and who ever else bought up British car makers, Jaguar, Rover, Mini etc so who ended up as number one British car maker? Morgan, who still cuts down trees to make their chassis.
Richard English says
Just to add to what Fred said, although he is nearly correct about the hand-built Morgan sports car, Morgan Motors are not Britain’s largest car manufacturer. That honour rests with LTI Vehicles, manufacturers of London’s iconic “Black Cabs”.
And I, too, am delighted that the USA has now re-discovered the craft of brewing beer, after so many years of manufacturing chemical fizz.
Let’s just hope Koch can resist the temptation to sell out. Sam is the best of the big bears and I’ve tried them all. I only dirnk Bud if there’s no other choice
When Bud is the only choice in beers – I drink whiskey!
As an american who grew up abroad and just came back I hope companies such as Boston Beer start shipping abroad. That was the type of beer I missed not Bud or Coors. Samuel Adams should be the beer to represent us internationally.