Monday, June 23, 2008

InBev in bed with A-B?

A Belgian giant walks into an American bar, sits down and tries to order a Leffe Tripel.

"Sorry, got nothing like that here," the barkeep says.

The Belgian giant, perplexed, asks: "How about a Hoegaarden?"

"A ho gardening?"

"Hoegaarden," the Belgian replies dryly.

"I don't know what kinda weirdness you're into, but you might find some down the block standing on a street corner. Can't miss 'em."

The Belgian is so mystified he doesn't notice the big American walk in and take a seat next to him at the bar. The big American orders a Bud.

"Comin' right up," the bartender replies all to readily.

"A Bud?" the Belgian asks.

The American turns and looks at the Belgian with fire in his eyes. Thinking the Belgian has never heard of the great American Lager asks: "You're in a bar and you've never heard of a Budweiser?"

"Oh, a Budweiser. That's what you Americans call beer, right?"

"Damn straight!" the burly American barks.

"Well... we need to fix that now don't we?" the Belgian retorts.


For some reason that's how I imagine this potentially earth shaking buy-out went down. OK, maybe I had a few too many craft beers with high ABVs. Whatever the case... until today I didn't pay much notice to the enormity of this potential consolidation. What gigantic conglomerates do amongst themselves bores me to tears. And living in the "Napa of the Beer World" -- I frankly don't care all that much. I haven't voluntarily touched an A-B product (or any other macro-beer) in years. As the Warsteiner saying goes: "Life is too (damn) short to drink cheap (crappy) beer."

Earlier today I was contacted by Amanda Elend, who works for the CBS-owned news and politics web show MobLogic about this very topic. They did a really interesting webisode about the A-B takeover and wanted to know my thoughts. After watching it (I've embedded the show below), and reading the corresponding blog, A-B fights for America, it got me thinking.

Aside from the whole national pride thing, not wanting to give up the long held family biz, yadda yadda yadda... one has to wonder how many home grown jobs are going to be lost. InBev has to keep A-B in St. Louis because if they offshore it there will be serious negative PR ramifications. If InBev can guarantee this won't ever happen, A-B would be crazy to pass this offer up. A-B gets international PR while InBev gets American PR.

Take a gander at the MobLogic show, read the blog and come on back here to discuss. What are your thoughts on this monumental beer tapping?