Beer could get more expensive if this gigantic merger between Anheuser-Busch InBev and SAB Miller goes ahead. Because it could very well end the industry as we know it. It would essentially be the start of a monopoly. Meaning, our budding and flourishing craft breweries might become a thing of the past.
Fox 61 reports that even Senator Richard Blumenthal disparaged the proposed merger. Basically, should the two combine forces, they’d make up practically the entire industry.
Curt Cameron, co-founder of Thomas Hooker Brewery explained why that’s so troubling:
“If you see those two companies come together, that one company will now own 85-90% of the entire worldwide beer market. The challenge for us little guys is how do we compete in a market with these really big guys.”
The answer? They wouldn’t be able to! Plus, a merger that large would give birth to yet another “too big to fail” company. Yeah, and we know exactly how’d that go.
As an aside, Hartford Courant says the merger would account for 27 percent of beer sales worldwide. But the major concern is for American beer drinkers.
There’s an inherent wrong of allowing a mega-corporation to own nearly 90 percent of ANY industry. The little guys making up the remaining 10 percent won’t be able to breathe. They could also be easily pushed out of the market entirely.
Already, craft brewers say Anheuser-Busch InBev and SAB Miller abuse their power, so they can’t imagine the damage they’d leave as one entity.
Their biggest concern is how they’d be able to control beer distributors since they’d have control over a good chunk of their brands. They’d be able to pressure them to carry their craft products over those not under their label.
Meaning, people might have to bounce around several stores, or go directly to the source, to get their hands on their favorite local craft beer.
So, that could make the industry implode.
Small brewers say that a mega-corporation could also force them out of the industry by taking all the key ingredients for themselves. They’d have the means necessary to buy up the world supply of items such as hops and barley. And, to be real, who would be able to stop them?
So, tha’s another way they can cut the little guys out of the picture entirely.
First, they’d go after sales, then they could take up the world supply of beer-making ingredients, and make it impossible for the little guys to afford their business.
Basically, this mega-merger could effectively kill the competition since they’d essentially control the market.
Senator Richard Blumenthal says a company like that is a threat to competition. He also said he’s watching the merger very carefully.
“It will control almost half of the United States market, but maybe most disturbingly to me, it will have huge potential power for abuse. We want [local brewers] to tell us whether there are any constraints on competition, any attempts to force them away from distributors or pressure on the distributors to avoid doing business with them.”
Blumenthal said he’s visiting local breweries to encourage them to report any and all mistreatment.
Anyways, craft breweries are the hip new thing in the state. Connecticut currently has 55 craft brewers, but back in 2011, that number was 16.
And all of them could very well be heading to court soon. Cameron mentioned several potential lawsuits that could be brought up on a national level. If such a suit happens, CT’s craft brewers will surely join the fight.
What do you think? Are you for or against this big merger? Or, is this the first time you ever heard of it?